Network Conference 2014
Michael Wilderspin attended this conference from 3 – 5th October, having received an invitation via our Deanery Assistant Secretary and he writes:
I was intrigued by the Conference title: Deaneries: Mission or Mystery and also that Archdeacon Christine was booked to speak. The mystery element relates to the perception of those in the pew who regard the deanery and its function as a mystery.
The first evening was an eye opener as the after dinner speaker was The Revd Lord Leslie Griffiths a former President of the Methodist Conference. He gave a remarkable talk on the title Has Christianity run out of Steam? Relating how the C of E had let down our Methodist Brothers and Sisters over many decades of attempts at resolving unity problems, he had come to the conclusion that unless we could visibly unite with our Methodist brethren, who had come from the same roots in Christianity, there was little hope that our message would be seen as relevant to society in general. I have to agree that we seem to view the Covenant we signed with the Methodist Church a few years ago with low priority and let them down when it suits us.
During Saturday we had sessions on how Deaneries could be the hub of the church for mission as well as there being a session on How to reach Young Adults. This task is much more difficult than I imagined and is the key to putting more STEAM into Christianity.
Archdeacon Christine told us of her BOTTOM UP APPROACH and the need for larger Deaneries to share resources for mission. She spoke about the new Peak Deanery combining 3 former deaneries with a part-time dedicated Rural Dean. Whilst I could see some advantages in larger deaneries, I found in discussion over meals that the bottom up approach was not as clear cut as had been suggested. I also discovered that this new deanery had not yet begun to discuss their Mission Action Plan as they were awaiting the appointment of their Rural Dean. I am quite concerned about this process as Mission seems to be taking a back seat in the Peak Deanery and it has been suggested that the whole exercise is about financial micro-management with Mission tagged on. I hope this is not true as Mission needs to be at the forefront of our churches activity or we shall die out. Should this new approach be a bottom up process or are we to be told who we should have as a partner!! Doesn’t work well in an arranged Marriage!! There is a meeting soon between our Wirksworth Deanery and Duffield Deanery to discuss joining us together. A Very Valuable Weekend and I hope in 2 years time more of our deanery will attend.