Learning Communities An update on Learning Communities, published on 14th May 2018: The Learning Communities bring together lay and ordained members of parishes and projects in six character areas: Rural – sparsely populated and generally more traditional in character Coastal – seasonal ministry with a transient and sometimes challenging population Urban – the industrial towns, mostly in the north of the diocese Market towns – centres of population across the diocese, often with significant church buildings Suburban villages – relatively more prosperous, probably with a commuting population Housing developments – from post-war housing developments to newer ones, with the particular challenges of future population growth in some areas of the diocese. By bringing together people from the same character areas, the Learning Communities can engage in relevant, tailor-made learning about how they can get better at being church and building the Kingdom in their contexts. Presentations to explain the Learning Communities, their place in the diocesan strategy and how they work and are of benefit have taken place in all but one of the deaneries in the diocese. At Candlemas an imaginative service in the cathedral set the Learning Communities in worship and prayer. More than 40 benefices and parishes have now sent back their response forms, and proposed groupings are being discussed with the parishes. Parishes who haven’t done so until now are invited to send in a response form to David Dadswell by post to Edward King House or by email. (David may also be contacted by calling 01522 50 40 62.) The development of our Learning Communities At a meeting of Diocesan Synod it was decided that the diocese was most likely to grow in faithful worship, confident discipleship and joyful service if it became a learning diocese. By reflecting prayerfully together on what our callings are, our challenges, successes, ambitions and resources, we will become more and more effective at working with God to transform lives in greater Lincolnshire. This will happen through Learning Communities, based on six common character areas across the diocese: rural, urban, coastal, housing developments and estates, market towns and suburban villages. Benefices, or individual parishes, have been invited to join whichever they think fits them best. Learning Communities will gather together those undertaking mission and ministry in areas of similar context and narrative, in regular meetings in which good practice and support is shared with input from local, diocesan, national and ecumenical sources, and with the diocesan agenda set at the local level, the diocese will build capacity, skill and effectiveness in mission. Using a reflective learning model, lay and ordained together will learn from what has gone well and not so well in the past and supportively build and critique plans and projects for witness, service and ministry that are more likely to work in their particular settings. The Learning Communities will be supported by central diocesan services that are being remodelled to respond more effectively to the needs of the frontline. The learning will be supplemented by larger gatherings around topics, many of which will be generated by the Learning Communities, in workshops, diocesan conferences and courses. For further information please contact: David Dadswell, Bishop’s Strategic Implementation Adviser, by e-mail or by calling 01522 50 40 62. Alternatively, please contact Richard Steel, Mission Team Leader, by e-mail or by calling 01522 50 40 30. A Learning Communities response form, which may be used to indicate a wish to join a Learning Community, may be found here.