There are around 120 mission communities across the Diocese of Exeter. We aim to be mission-oriented, community-focussed and locally-rooted. As God’s people we are called to live out our faith and continue the mission of God as revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Communities are how we relate to one another. We discover both what we need from others and what we can offer so that all may flourish. In the same way Mission Communities help us as the Church to work together across boundaries and break down a sense of isolation. They enable us to be flexible in our mission and more adept at responding to the different contexts and cultures of Devon.
Not every parish can offer every aspect of the Church’s life and ministry, but by joining in partnership with neighbouring churches and forming a Mission Community we can work together more effectively. This will involve a commitment to:
- regular prayer and worship
- pastoral care
- evangelism and mission, often in collaboration with ecumenical partners
- opportunities for learning, teaching, nurture and growth for disciples of all ages
- youth and children’s work and worship
- equipping members for ministry and the development of ministry teams
- ensuring our churches are safe places for all God’s people by working together to prevent
- connecting with the local community especially in service to the marginalised
- good administration and stewardship of time, resources and buildings
Mission Communities will vary from place to place, but will usually involve 150 or more worshiping adults, together with children and young people, in order to form a critical mass. The commitment to work together may be formalised as a united benefice or Team Ministry, or be expressed through a looser partnership.
Each Mission Community is encouraged to have a Mission Action Plan. This should be a working document which helps the local church look outwards, to grow in prayer, to make new disciples and to serve the people of Devon with joy.
The parish share scheme is designed to distribute the financial costs of the Diocese equitably. The Common Fund pays for the clergy, their training, housing and central costs, but it only works if each Mission Community contributes regularly. We support all Mission Communities in their financial administration to develop efficient ways to collect and manage resources through the Parish Giving Scheme.
If our Mission Communities are to flourish they need to be more than economic units or legal entities. They need to embody the life of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and to share that life with others. Jesus came so that we can have life in all its fullness. This is our prayer for the renewal of the Church in Devon.