Diocese of Manchester

    Withington: new ways of working together

    Withington is not among the pilot deaneries and yet it is already working with Fit for Mission to shape its future. Revd Stephen Edwards reports on a possible future:

    As well as working towards new mission units (two for the whole deanery) we have two creative posts bringing confidence to our Christian presence.

    Our deanery Fresh Expressions Enabler talks of “the privilege and joy of helping churches explore new, innovative, creative and effective ways of drawing people into the life of the Christian community. I can act as the go-between to match resources to need. We are seeing a continual increase in cross-parish cooperation in mission, fresh expressions, work with schools, and in lay people taking a lead.”

    Withington also has paid lay workers in some parishes. Wythenshawe’s Community Development Worker is crucial: “We are able to meet the most basic of human needs first (as Jesus told us ‘I was hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison…’) and gently be alongside people as they realise that God has been with them all along, that He doesn't just hang around waiting for people to come into a Church on Sundays.”’ Currently grant funded, we believe the Community Development Worker post could be a stipendiary lay post in the future.

    The Church could gain much by "mainstreaming" such posts - making them a core, stipendiary role alongside clergy. If we have to go outside of the Church to secure funding then the distinctive, Christian nature of the role would be compromised.  

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