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Oct 1, 2010

Pastoral Practice in the Urban Mission Network


In this initial phase of the new structures the Network has developed a number of supplementary pastoral practices that are now part of the annual calendar. There is a study conference late in the year that focuses on the lectionary readings for the subsequent year, annual retreat held early in the year and two lunch time occasions when ministers, students and retired minister meet socially and catch up.
Background 
Networks were formed in 2005 to encourage congregations to strengthen their community life and to learn from experience through mission and ministry initiatives in the local setting. Being the church on the main street and in the public square was the primary focus of the majority of the original 16 congregations. In the past 12 months others have joined the Network for different reasons with many having a neighbourhood focus. 

Networks were not intended to be a mini Presbytery and pastoral responsibility for congregations and ministers rests with the Presbytery of South Australia as envisaged by the regulations and the Basis of Union. Networks do not have any formal responsibilities or obligations that involve congregation consultations, placements or other oversight tasks, all of which rest with the Presbytery through the Pastoral Relations Team. 

Practice
In practice the Urban Mission Network (the Network) is well represented on the Presbytery Pastoral Relations Committee (PRC) and the Placements Committee through appointing a representative who provides information and comment at the monthly meetings. Currently the Network’s representative is the Coordinator. Experienced members of our congregations are invited to be members of Joint Nominating Committees and take part in consultations and they report to the Presbytery on these matters. 

In this initial phase of the new structures the Network has developed a number of supplementary pastoral practices that are now part of the annual calendar. There is a study conference late in the year that focuses on the lectionary readings for the subsequent year, annual retreat held early in the year and two lunch time occasions when ministers, students and retired minister meet socially and catch up. 

The Network does not have any paid positions to develop or expand pastoral care at times of crisis, either for ministers or congregation leaders. At these times congregation officers and ministers should contact the Pastoral Relations Team of the Presbytery. 

We assume that all ministers have a supervision contract. Informal personal and friendship support is an important element in pastoral care but this depends on the initiative of ministers and their willingness to develop these links. The Network depends on voluntary leadership and the more congregations and ministers contribute to the life of the Network the stronger will be our informal pastoral support. 

Occasionally the Network’s Reference Group will give consideration to issues effecting congregations and may offer suggestions or comments for the consideration of our representative on the PRC and Placements Committee. These conversations take account of the confidentially conditions which apply to members of the Presbytery committees. Responsibilities for events and other initiatives are shared between members of the Network’s Reference Group.

October 2010
Last Updated Tuesday, 01 October 2013 15:22

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