With so many significant areas of housing development emerging across the Diocese of Ely, it is imperative that the Church seeks to relevantly and effectively engage with the people moving into these new communities.
The Mission and Ministry Team seeks to inform, train, and equip leaders across the diocese with creative ideas and stories from experience of church plants and engagement with new housing schemes and councils, as to how best such hopes can become a reality.
The Diocese of Ely has the following aims and priorities for new housing areas
Where there are 5000+ new houses
- The diocese hopes to be able to place a minister in these new communities. On present estimates we are looking at making several new substantive posts over the next five years.
Where there are 2000+ new houses
- The diocese will share the responsibility and work with local deaneries to respond creatively to what is happening on the ground. This will mean that the deanery may need to be reconfigured missionally. Conversations could involve discussions on partnerships, property, Fresh Expressions, lay workers etc.
Where there is new housing
- Training will be offered. The diocese will pay to send a couple of people per church on the Mission Shaped Ministry course. On completion of the course those sent by their local church can become authorised lay pioneers.
A suggested approach to new housing (presented to Bishop 's Council in 2014)
Making new housing a mission priority comes out of a desire to…
Grow the church.
- We should to be a growing church in a growing region. Where there are new houses we should expect the church to be present and grow in a variety of ways.
Build flourishing healthy communities
- The church is committed to its locality and Christians to loving their neighbour. This is a recommitment to incarnational ministry reflected in people not buildings.
Engage courageously with the needs of our communities
- This will invite the church to live by faith -often working out new ways of being church in that new place. New partnerships will arise. Hospitality is important, but the church may find herself in the role of guest not host.
Be people of Jesus Christ
- Issues of Identity are writ large in new developments. It is an opportunity for Christians to reaffirm that they are not simply individuals or consumers or house owners but find their primary identity in Jesus Christ.
New housing Principles for approaching new housing developments
- The importance of getting in early
- Always lead with people not buildings
- Seek a pioneering leader preferably an ordained minister
- The need for a clear support structure for the project rather than a lone minister
- Partnership working is preferred. Not assumed ecumenical but need for strong lively supporting church(es)
- Access to a community building is vital
- Bid for a new school in a new development
- Form a diocesan multi-disciplinary team to assist project manage such developments
- Funding/buildings/council and developers
- An entrepreneurial approach is required from the off, not one wholly dependent upon central funding
- Training in entrepreneurship is necessary
- We have good business contacts but these are underutilised
- Smaller developments will have to be resourced by local Christian communities. Training at all levels is necessary. The Mission Shaped Ministry course to be highlighted and promoted.
- Ecumenism is messy and local. Hard to predict partnerships.
- Each locality will have its own particular strengths and challenges