Key Resources and Tools:

1. Pew Sheet: Deanery Partnerships (DPs) and Local Mission Partnerships (LMPs).

Please print these double-sided in colour for your churches. Please contact [email protected] if you need these printed centrally.

Click to view (download from webpage)


2. Webinar recordings

a. Collaborative Ministry - May 2022
b. Local Mission Partnerships - March 2022 
c. Communication and Engagement - July 2022

3. Paper: Allocating Stipendiary Posts to Deanery Partnerships

A technical paper providing:

  1. Updated tables showing different scenarios for possible stipend numbers within each DP
  2. Explanation of their assumptions 
  3. Clear guidance for DPSGs and embryonic LMPs on how to use them
  4. Proposals supporting local conversations about affordability, resourcing of church types, challenges of populations and working with local needs and issues

Click to view

4. Lists of Ministers in each Deanery

To support local planning of ministry, a list of all licensed and authorised lay and ordained ministers by deanery. If a benefice is not listed, this indicates there are no readers or ALMs there. Information from church types and the stipendiary post scenarios paper is also included for reference. Please let us know at [email protected] if something isn't as you'd expect on these lists. 

Click to view

5. Maps of each Deanery Partnership

Click here to view diocesan and deanery partnership maps showing the spread of church types as currently proposed. 

6. Covenant Progress and Projections for each Deanery Partnership

Click here to view a set of sheets for each DP, showing the progress on covenant pledges and church types, as of 29/07/22. They will be updated periodically. 

7. Deanery Partnership Steering Groups Guidance

Click here to view the paper setting out information about the set-up process of Deanery Partnerships. 

Frequently asked Questions:

1. What are the essential criteria of an LMP? 

2. What is the timeline for setting up LMPs?

  • By March 2022, confirm Deanery Partnership boundaries.
  • By the end of May 2022, Deanery Partnership Steering Groups (DPSGs) to suggest a pattern of Local Mission Partnerships within the DP, taking into account the ministerial, financial and personnel responses and the distribution of Types 3 to 5 churches.
    • These suggestions are then considered by whichever local committees and partnerships are operating, or wish to form themselves.
    • The DPSGs, bishops and archdeacons stand ready to assist, where desired.
  • By the end of August 2022, working with the church in its local expressions (existing deaneries, benefices, parishes etc.), the DPSGs are asked to reach consensus about the operation of Local Mission Partnerships. This will be achieved through local, collaborative conversation, prayer, worship and reflection - possibly via multiple meetings in an iterative process. Decisions need to be fair, workable, and consistent with the Recommendations and Commitments agreed by Diocesan Synod. The DPSGs will enquire regularly about the progress that has been achieved and the pattern of Local Mission Partnerships that are being considered, and will work with all parties until consensus is reached.

3. How is an LMP NOT a Multi-Parish Benefice?

In Lincoln Diocese we are familiar with a pattern of ministry in which a single Incumbent serves a benefice made up of many parishes. This pattern has arisen in response to falling clergy numbers and the need to ensure that each parish has an Incumbent.

Local Mission Partnerships, as described in the Report agreed by Synod and the Bishop’s Council, are supposed to be different. Naturally there are some similarities:

  • Every parish will continue to have an Incumbent;
  • Each Local Mission Partnership will involve many parishes; and
  • Planning and delivery of mission and ministry will happen over a wider geographical area than a single parish.

However, there are some strategically important differences:

  • Each Local Mission Partnership will be served by a group of stipendiary and non-stipendiary ministers. The report offered, as a starting suggestion, the idea of 3 stipendiary clergy per LMP;
  • There is an expectation of collaboration from all and the likelihood of some specialised ministries developing within each; and
  • Local Mission Partnerships will not involve pastoral reorganisation unless or until there is a local impetus for legal change. Instead, the new structure will ‘lie across’ the top of the existing one.

Thus, Local Mission Partnerships are most definitely NOT multi-parish benefices.

4. What do we mean by collaborative working? 

The Report envisaged a pattern of ministry in which all ministers, ordained and lay, stipendiary and voluntary, operate in partnership and collaborate with one another. This is not a familiar pattern to most clergy, but it is (as previously observed) the agreed policy of the Diocese. What might such partnership and collaboration look like on the ground? The following are suggested issues to consider:

  • Is there scope for specialisation within the team?;
  • How might a commitment to praying together and for each other be embedded in the pattern of local ministry?;
  • Are there ‘economies of scale’ to be explored? The need to serve ever larger geographical areas can be felt only as a demand for more work, but it can also allow for missional and ministerial resources to be more strategically focused;
  • Are there training needs in the area of partnership and collaboration?;
  • What are the barriers to partnership and collaboration and how might they be overcome?

5. What does it mean to have 'Multiple Layers of Belonging'? 

The inherited pattern of ministry tends to undergird the idea that we belong to a particular church, where that church is understood to be a building in a specific location. Quite often, we may feel somewhat defensive in this connection and part of the rationale for changing that pattern is to suggest that every Christian person belongs to the church in many different ways:

  • The very local, where I understand my vocation and discipleship to be primarily expressed;
  • The extended local, where I know myself to be loved and welcomed by a wider family of disciples and with whom I share in mission and ministry across a wider geographical area;
  • The regional, where I am part of a network of disciples in an Archdeaconry and Diocese whose specific vocation is to support me and others in mission and ministry;
  • The national, where I belong to the Church of England, am subject to its laws and benefit from its vocation to create a safe, fair and flourishing environment for mission and ministry across the country and a spiritual resource for every one of its citizens;
  • The worldwide, where I am part of the Body of Christ that knows no divisions in God, and prays for greater visible unity; and
  • The eternal, the communion of saints.

6. What possible roles might there be for ministers within an LMP? 

Under all different models of collaborative working within an LMPs, there is a need for a variety of ministerial roles and practices. We are not all called to be and do all things, but individuals may well be called to and skilled in more than one role. Possible roles include: 

Oversight ministry - taking an incumbency role in terms of the legalities of a number of churches, but sharing with a team in terms of the actual practice of ministry. 

Specific incumbency - situating a specific priest in a specific place with a specific worshipping community. Mechanisms to guarantee collaboration within an LMP plan where specific incumbency is a major part will be vital to the cultural change to collegial working which is central to A Time to Change Together. Cross-licensing allows this to work whilst challenging ministers to explore collaboration

Support ministry - lay and ordained acting as members of teams to deliver parts of a ministerial programme

Specialist ministry - a specific skill deployable within a team or across different church settings for the benefit and flourishing of the whole. Specialisms might include work with children, work with families, ministry to the elderly, work in the context of mental health, liturgy, music, theology, social action, online, public square evangelism, spiritual companionship, project design and delivery.  

Focal ministry - taking specific responsibility for a specific congregation or worshipping community. May be lay or ordained, trained or delivered under guidance. A focal minister in a large church could be an incumbent. In a small church she or he might be an ALM or a churchwarden who has the heart to know and travel with people, to lead in prayer and if appropriate lead local worship, to identify pastoral needs and see that they are met, and, in the multiple layers of belonging we seek to establish through A Time to Change Together, shepherd congregations to enrich their spiritual lives by sharing in worship elsewhere.

7. What is the role of the Deanery Partnership Steering Groups (DPSGs)? 

The DPSG are task and finish groups established to enable and promote the prayerful planning and implementation of the DPs and LMPs. They work with existing church structures and lay/clergy leaders, but are able to evolve as they see fit over time, perhaps into longer term or permanent bodies. The following representatives are part of each DPSG:

  • A suffragan bishop
  • An archdeacon
  • The rural deans of the existing deaneries within the DP
  • The lay chairs of the existing deaneries within the DP
  • A lay member of the Bishop’s Council of Diocesan Trustees external to the DP
  • Two (or if appropriate, three) Deanery Synod lay representatives
  • A facilitator, external to the proposed DP, initially one of the Implementation Team for A Time to Change Together
  • Incumbents of Type 1 churches within the proposed DP (they have identified themselves as serving a wider area than their immediate community and providing a resourcing function for other churches).