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Update on Pastoral Scheme

Oct 6, 2017   //   by Terry Roberts   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Update on Pastoral Scheme
The New Pastoral Scheme     (edited version of original by Canon Gary Philbrick, Area Dean)

After almost exactly a year of planning, we heard from the Church Commissioners, that there had been no objections to the Draft Scheme to re-organise the Northern Parishes of the Deanery of Christchurch, and that means that the Scheme would be signed into operation very soon. 

The rationale for this was to release one stipendiary ministry post for use in the much more populous Southern part of the Deanery, specifically in the very large Parish of Milton – which has 14 times more people than the current population of Hyde with Ellingham and Harbridge, but has only one stipendiary post. 

Most people will be aware of the plan, but for those who aren’t, it is as follows:
The Parish of Ringwood will additionally include the Churches of Ellingham and Harbridge, and those areas that were traditionally in those Parishes; the Parish of St Leonards and St Ives will join Ringwood to form a new Benefice, with Revd Matthew Trick as Vicar and Assistant Priest of Incumbency Status, the Revd Ian Whitham, who moved to the Vicarage at St Ives in August. This will be one Benefice, with two Parishes and two stipendiary posts, two PCCs, etc.
The Avon Valley Partnership (the Benefice which includes the Parishes of Fordingbridge (with Sandleheath Uniting Church and Godshill), Breamore, and Hale & the Charfords (usually known as Hale & Woodgreen), will now also include the Parish of Hyde. This new Benefice will be called Fordingbridge and Hyde and Breamore and Hale with Woodgreen, but will continue to be known as The Avon Valley Partnership.


And the icing on the cake is that the two new Benefices will work together as ‘The New Forest North Group Ministry’ – a fairly informal and light-touch arrangement which allows Parishes to work together more easily across Benefice boundaries. Simple! 

The Scheme (the legal instrument effecting all of this) comes into operation when Ian Whitham resigns from his current post, and is licensed to his new one. There is quite a number of Licensings and Inductions to be organised, and that is likely to be happening all in one go, in various Churches and Parishes, sometime in October – more details to follow as they become clearer. However, we shall begin de facto working of the new arrangement from the beginning of August – so it will be a gradual development of the new arrangements until all the Licensings have taken place, and new appointments made in both Benefices. 

I think this is a really exciting time for all of our Churches across the Group, and we should be praying like mad for God’s Blessing on us all!