Building a Structure
The MATT met on 8th June to begin planning how the new structure of the Beechwood Ministry Area will work. As mentioned in an earlier edition, once the Bishop makes the legal decree that transforms us from individual parishes into a Rectorial Benefice, the Benefice will be one big parish and the Ministry Area Council will be its PCC. It is therefore crucial that each congregation feels as if it has a seat at the table and a voice in the governance. To that end, we have proposed the following structure:
In addition to the ex officio members (clergy & MA wardens), the MAC will have 2 elected representatives from each of the current parishes. These will be selected by the congregations annually at a local pre-vestry meeting (LPVM?) in each of the current parishes; then the names will be sent to the MA’s Annual Vestry Meeting to be ratified and therefore elected. We chose this number to keep the MAC manageable in size, but to enable the greatest amount of representation possible.
Although the current PCCs will cease to exist at the BMA’s creation, they will be replaced by Local Church Councils (LCCs) acting as sub-committees of the MAC and will retain considerable latitude in the day-to-day running of the local churches.
A Finance Sub-Committee will be put in place consisting of the MA Treasurer and the local church treasurers, plus any Gift Aid Secretaries (MA or local) who may be in place.
Additional sub-committees — e.g., buildings, mission, etc. — may be created at the MAC’s discretion. The MATT has not yet proposed any; strategic decisions such as these are ultimately for the MAC. However, if a practical need is spotted prior to the merger, the MATT may make proposals later. It is expected that additional sub-committees are likely to be required — provided we’re not just making additional layers of governance for their own sake!
For clarity: members of MAC sub-committees need not sit directly on the MAC; however, at least one MAC member should sit on each of the sub-committees as the appropriate link person: e.g., the church reps on the LCCs, the MA Treasurer on the Finance Sub-Committee.
Purposes: as stated in previous editions, the MAC is intended to be a strategic body and forum for our common life; it is not aimed at micro-managing the local churches’ day-to-day goings on. Consequently, it will be important to get the right people for the right jobs on both the MAC and the LCCs. The MATT is currently coming up with role descriptions for both the MAC and the LCCs. This is still a work in progress, but it is assumed that everyone taking part in these committees will be prepared to take a role (and an enthusiasm for the work) for the sake of positive forward momentum and streamlining of both our local and common effort.
It is pleasing to note that agreement so far on the MATT has been consistently unanimous — we have worked towards genuine consensus and on all these points. Our work is going well — and swiftly! — and we do seem to be building a positive atmosphere for moving forward.