Leicester Diocese: doomsday or new dawn?

Oct 12, 2021 by

by David Baker, Christian Today:

Bravo, then, Leicester Diocese in England – it has stepped off the edge and bravely taken the plunge into a whole new potential way of doing ministry.

Whether that step off the edge is tantamount to falling from a cliff into an abyss – or a gentle paraglide ride landing in fresh sunlit pastures – remains to be seen.

The change, agreed this last weekend, has come about because of what the Diocesan Board of Finance called “a financially unsustainable future…” Other dioceses in the Church of England will be watching with interest, as Leicester is far from the only one facing acute monetary trouble.

So what is Leicester doing, and is it a good idea or not? In a nutshell, 20-25 geographical “Minster Communities” will be established – each one consisting of a group of parishes which are expected to “collaborate in mission without losing their individual identity”.

The diocese’s summary adds: “There will be an appointed minister for every Christian community … and sacramental provision is assured. It is anticipated that initially most of the expected 80-90 paid positions will be stipendiary clergy, but our aspiration is for increased lay ministry working alongside clergy across the diocese.” In 2020, there were 98 stipendiary clergy and 31 curates in training. It is a big cut.

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