Shaping for Mission

What is Shaping for Mission?

Bishop Michael explains it simply in this video. 

There is more information on the Diocese website HERE

The Deanery Summary mentioned below in Harvey's magazine article can be read HERE. It's a 21 page pdf which can be downloaded. 

Harvey's 'pink paper' which outlines the way forward for St Oswald's can be read HERE

 Harvey's magazine artlcle:-

Shaping for mission… shaping our future

Like many dioceses in the Church of England, Lichfield faces some significant challenges as it looks to the future. In light of a significant reduction in financial income, the Diocesan leadership team decided to take a positive and proactive approach to work together as people of hope to make mission sustainable in helping fulfil our diocesan vision.

This programme of working together falls under the banner of ‘Shaping for Mission’.

Bishop Michael’s message,which can be seen in the video above, is a simple one; ‘the choice we face is not ‘whether we change or not, but how to change’’. Shaping for Mission is our programme of change across the diocese by which people are invited to reflect on how the diocesan vision is being worked out in their local context, be that in parishes, fresh expressions of church, schools and chaplaincies.

However, in a change of approach, Shaping for Mission will focus on the deanery. The aim being to strengthen our life of discipleship, vocation and evangelism (DVE) by shaping deaneries to be effective bodies for developing discipleship, encouraging vocation and inspiring evangelism in a way which is sustainable and enables people and churches to flourish. Traditionally, deaneries have had two roles: to provide governance for the diocese; and to provide a support network for those in ministry. Now a third is being added: to discern the mission of the church in their area. Smaller deaneries are being invited to work in partnership with a neighbouring deanery as they look for the gifts, strengths, opportunities and challenges that God has gifted the church with and discern a faithful vision in response. The diocese has 28 deaneries, each of which is very different, and the vision for sustainable mission will belong to that deanery and will reflect God’s call for developing discipleship, encouraging vocation, and inspiring evangelism in that context. Not every parish, chaplaincy, fresh expression or school is called to, or considered able to, offer all aspects of mission, but across a deanery a range of mission can be offered in creative and sustainable ways.

Alongside the work in deaneries, a parallel process is taking place across the diocese’s central sector teams, with three small Shaping for Mission teams reviewing our Central Administrative Support Teams, DVE teams and Education. These teams, which will include external representatives from across the diocese, will focus on making sure that our work priorities are aligned with our shared mission to effectively serve schools, parishes, chaplaincies and fresh expressions, and that our central resources are financially sustainable.

Stage one of the programme began in the autumn of 2020 with meetings in each archdeaconry for rural deans, lay chairs and their assistants and culminated in the forming of Deanery Shaping for Mission Teams. The Oswestry team, of which I am a member comprises nine people; three ordained and six lay, from the benefices of our deanery who have a particular interest in mission. Our first task has been to review the deanery; its place, its people, sources of information and available resources, and to discover what work is currently being done to resource and grow discipleship, vocation and evangelism. This first phase of work was completed by members of St. Oswald’s PCC and Mission and Ministry Teams who were asked to complete a questionnaire which, when combined, formed our parish response to the deanery. You can find our parish response HERE. The Deanery Team is currently putting together the responses from the 18 parishes that make up our deanery. As you can imagine it is proving to be something of a task!

The second phase will begin from Easter 2021 when deanery teams move into the vision-setting phase. During this phase the teams will work with the wider deanery to ask questions about who and what God calls us to be and what our priorities for mission are.

The third phase will begin later in 2021 when Bishops’ Senior Staff and Annual Parochial Church Meetings will together begin the process of translating the vision into action and aligning resources accordingly. Phase one has taken place under lockdown conditions and whilst Shaping for Mission has been on the PCC agenda at St. Oswald’s it has not been a feature of wider church life. Whilst at this stage, you might feel that this process does not belong to you, it is crucial that you play your part as fully as you wish to. Hopefully as we move into the more important second and third phases of Shaping for Mission, Coronavirus restrictions be such that we can meet physically and engage in wider consultation and debate. In the meantime, please familiarise yourself with Shaping for Mission by visiting the Diocesan website… so that you can make sure your voice is heard in this process, and please keep Shaping for Mission and the deanery teams in your prayers.


Generous God. You have provided for your people in every generation.

In our faithlessness you remained steadfast.

In our obsession with scarcity you provided abundance.

In our anxiety you offered us freedom from fear.

In our despair you gave us hope.

We receive your gifts, believe your promises and trust you for the future.

May we cease trying to fix the church and join with you in loving your world.

May we hear your call to fullness of life and share it with others.

May we be shaped by the Good News of Jesus, the light of the world

And may we seek your kingdom as People of Hope.