On Sunday 5th March 2017, the Six Parishes joined together for a united service at Great Canfield to give thanks for Revd Dub Gannon’s ministry amongst us and to wish Dub, Deanne and the family our best wishes for the future as they return to minister in Australia.  The Six Parishes are now in interregnum until a new parish priest is appointed.

From June 2017 Parish News

Representative from across the 10 parishes gathered in The Room in The Rodings in early May to meet with the Bishop of Colchester, the Archdeacon of Stansted and the Area Dean to understand the future plans for our parishes and what needs to be done in order to appoint a new vicar.

The Six Parishes and South Rodings are part of the Dunmow and Stansted Deanery, a group of 29 churches which includes Dunmow, Stansted, Takeley, Stebbing, Felsted and the Bardfields.  This is a diverse group of communities encompassing small villages and growing towns as well as containing Stansted Airport where our clergy provide chaplaincy.  Like all Deaneries we have a Deanery Plan which sets out the vision for paid clergy resourcing across our parishes in the next 10-20 years, as well as seeking to find new ways to grow the Christian presence in all our communities.  The Rural Dean confirmed the Deanery Plan for our villages is to recruit one full time paid vicar for all 10 parishes and our current situation allows this plan to come to fruition.

The idea of one vicar having to cover all our parishes seems impossible given our geographical spread and the number of historic church buildings we have to manage.  However, groups of this size are not unusual and in common with all churches and changing practices in the Church of England, our future will depend on our ability to develop our own lay ministry to work alongside clergy, which may include retired or additional support from elsewhere in the Deanery, in providing pastoral care and in leading worship.  Mission is the calling of the whole church and encouraging people within each parish is a challenge we must address.

This concept of working together is not new and back in 2012 our two groups of churches entered into a formal Group Ministry.  Whilst we retained separate vicars the intention was always for us to start to work closer together and there have been some small steps towards achieving this.  Working together is a challenging approach that holds at its heart the desire to be less parochial.  In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians we read of his vision of the Church, likening it to a human body, where the body needs to work as a whole, all the different parts need each other and that no part can say to another ‘I don’t need you’, (1 Corinthians 12:21).

The first stage of the process to appoint a new vicar is for the 10 parishes to produce a Parish Profile which sets out who we are, our church communities and our villages, and gives an outline of the kind of person we are looking for.   This will take some time as we consider areas we have in common and work through our differences, as well as addressing questions such as which Rectory the new vicar will live in.  Given the work required, the need to advertise and any appointed clergy having to serve notice it is unlikely we will have a new vicar before Easter 2018 at the earliest.  In the meantime, we continue to meet together both formally and informally across the 10 parishes and we would be delighted to welcome you all at our services and events.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another— and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25)