Fresh Expressions And Schools -
Developing The Partnership
An Introduction from The Rev. Canon Kerry Thorpe,
Canterbury Diocesan Missioner for Fresh Expressions of Church.
Archbishop Rowan has made it clear that he is committed to developing a "mixed economy" of new "Fresh Expressions" of Church alongside the inherited traditional models with which most of us are familiar.
When it comes to developing ministry in our local communities, outside or alongside the formal structure of the Parish Church, then our partnership with Schools has often been to the fore.
There are two classic models of Church/School Partnership. In the first, the School sets the agenda with Church playing a Chaplaincy role, to come alongside, support and bless what happens in school. The second model, developed increasingly in recent years, is one in which the Church makes use of School premises. Sunday (and occasionally other days) Services are held, and the Church community does its thing, but on the community-neutral territory of the School.
There is a Third Way developing! Both School and Church are looking to engage supportively and meaningfully, with their local communities, in a new paradigm. There are overlapping areas of concern. Its becoming possible to identify areas of common cause where shared values operate.
Breakfast, and after-School Clubs are now part of the scene. Parenting groups , and on-going Parental support feature increasingly. One community has developed the concept of "Messy Church", now being replicated country-wide. This is a Family based project in which spiritual themes are explored across the generations in the context of art, craft and cooking. The ideas and possibilities are, as ever, limited only by our capacity to envision and deliver. That's one of the reasons that partnership is so vital. We are unlikely to do it, or at least to sustain it, on our own.
We, in the Canterbury Diocese are committed to exploring the partnerships available to us. We are committed to gathering up the stories, passing on good practice, exploring, encouraging and supporting new ventures. We are not alone in this. This is part of a wider national movement, endorsed and resourced by the Archbishop under the theme of "Fresh Expressions". (For more details see www.freshexpressions.org.uk)
We are delighted to introduce Marion Brooks as part of our local Fresh Expressions Team. Marion has recently retired as Head of Archbishop Courtenay School in Maidstone, and is offering one day per week to act as a resource to help develop and support the Fresh Expressions dimension of School/Church partnerships within the Diocese. Please be in touch, if we can be of use to you in helping to make common cause for the benefit of our communities.
a dynamic partnership between church and school.
An Introduction from The Revd. Nigel Genders,
Canterbury Diocesan Director of Education.
The Diocesan Board of Education works alongside schools and churches as they minister within rapidly changing contexts. We seek to encourage churches and schools to work collaboratively and promote opportunities for development, growth and mission, recognising that our schools are at the very heart of the church's mission to the nation.
Anyone involved in education and schools will know of the constant demand to provide a first class service which responds strategically to the needs of children in our society and within our local communities. Presently this task is set within the context of the Every Child Matters agenda, which seeks to ensure that children's services are delivered in a way that ensures the safety, development and well-being of all children. In addition to this, recent reports such as Faith in the System have recognised the need to pay particular attention to the wider needs of society, focusing on social cohesion as we seek to build an integrated society in which all can flourish.
All schools have implicit or explicit values which underpin their work; Church of England schools are called to be inclusive and distinctively Christian as they promote Christian values such as humility, forgiveness, service, justice and peace. A long heritage of providing education within the context of these enduring Christian values means that Church of England schools are well placed to address issues surrounding social cohesion and the Every Child Matters agenda as a part of their on-going commitment to the children of our nation. This is best done in partnership with the local church, which itself faces a variety of challenges and opportunities.
The Mission-shaped Church report has highlighted the need for churches to explore new ways of engaging with their local communities, recognising that society in Britain has changed dramatically in recent years. The church has responded by planting new congregations and creating 'fresh expressions' of church that enable us to engage creatively with our many emerging cultures and contexts.
In the past, churches have sometimes seen schools solely as a good mission field from which to draw newcomers into the life of the church; or else they have regarded them simply as a useful building in which the church or church plant can function, without necessarily engaging the school community in an imaginative way. As we seek to develop the church's mission, whilst encouraging schools to continue to play their part in building a vibrant and cohesive community in which every child matters, we would like to encourage the further development of worshipping communities within our schools that seriously engage with and grow from the organic life and Christian values of the school.
The following pages outline some of the developments that are taking place within the diocese. None of them are intended to act as a template for your own specific context, but our hope is that they will stimulate thought and prayer.
I therefore commend this initiative to you and ask that headteachers, incumbents, PCCs and governing bodies all work together to enable churches and schools to continue to collaborate in our mission to the nation, to the glory of God and for the good of the children and communities we serve.
With all good wishes,
view as html