I wanted to write with an update on our progress so far as we work together to form the new East Cardiff Ministry Area.
Back in April, we formed a Ministry Area Transition Team, with representatives from all seven churches, who have co-ordinated this process. Since then, we’ve focused on three areas — Ministry, Governance and Finance — listening carefully to people’s views, and putting plans together, in each area. Here is what we’ve achieved so far:
In May, we brought together representatives from across the churches to share their dreams for our new shared mission and ministry. The response was overwhelmingly outward-focused, hopeful and positive. We would like to see thriving, growing churches ‘at the centre of our communities’, who are active in ‘service to our community, providing help, safety, friendship, inclusion and generosity.’ We want to minister amongst people of all ages and backgrounds, especially ‘service to the poor’, and with ‘children and young people’.
Based on this feedback, we put together a proposal for each of our Parochial Church Councils to consider, for three new clergy posts: Vicar for Liturgy and Worship; Vicar for Belonging and Pastoral Care; and Priest for Children, Families and Community. We are delighted that St Teilo’s Church in Wales High School are willing to fund this final role themselves in order for the new priest to work in partnership with the Ministry Area Team.
The advert for these posts was published on Friday 17th September in the national Church Times, with a deadline in the middle of October, and interviews to take place at the beginning of November. We hope the new clergy team will be able to move at the beginning of the new year, and begin their ministry among us soon after.
Our Governance working group also met together in May to discuss how we will manage and oversee the ministry and finances of the new Ministry Area. Following both Diocesan and Church in Wales guidance, this will include:
- A new Ministry Area Council, who will ultimately be our legal trustees, made up of the clergy, two representatives from each church, along with the two Ministry Area wardens and other officers, including the secretary, treasurer and a new Lay Co-chair.
- Church Committees for each of the seven churches, who will continue to oversee the day-to-day life of each congregation and the maintenance and upkeep of their church buildings. These will continue to include the two Church Wardens for each church.
- A Finance Committee, made up of the treasurers for each church and a new Ministry Area Treasurer, along with the Ministry Area Leader.
- A new Ministry Area Forum, including all the different representatives from all the church committees. This group will meet a few times a year to discuss big issues affecting our future.
Earlier in the year, we formed a finance working group, including the treasurers and gift aid secretaries from our local churches. This group has now met several times to discuss the process of managing our finances in the new Ministry Area.
The Diocesan strategy is that ultimately each Ministry Area should operate a single current account, with one united set of finances. This will enable us to pool our everyday funds in order to make the biggest impact across East Cardiff, while still ensuring that restricted funds and legacies given for individual church use are kept ring-fenced.
The churches of Cyncoed Benefice have already begun to prepare for this, and will have completed transitioning our finances to new bank accounts by the end of the year. We will aim to transition the finances for Llanrumney, Rumney and St Mellon’s in the first quarter of 2022. An annual budget covering all the different aspects of Ministry Area life will be agreed each year, with each church committee continuing to have responsibility for the day-to-day spending within their budget.
We’ve adopted a new electronic accounting system to make all this as efficient and straightforward as possible. A new Ministry Area treasurer will need to be recruited, and the finance group have been discussing whether it might be worthwhile to invest in a new paid ‘Finance Officer’ to support them with the day-to-day bookkeeping.
As I hope you can see, lots of positive progress has been made in recent months. And, while change always brings uncertainty and anxiety about the future, I’m delighted that we have been overwhelmingly positive and pro-active as we’ve embraced these challenges. Over the next few months, all the details will be finalised as we move towards inaugurating the new Ministry Area, and welcoming our new clergy, in the new year.
To keep everyone in touch, we now have new social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find the beginnings of our new Ministry Area website at: eastcardiff.church. Keep checking back online over the coming months as new information is added about each of our churches.
If you do have questions or comments on our progress so far, please contact your representatives on the Ministry Area Transition Team — or failing that, feel free to get in touch with me directly. And let’s continue to pray for God’s guidance as we work towards our new shared future together.
Yours in Christ
The Revd James Henley
Ministry Area Leader Designate
Tel: 029 2075 2138