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Reform Magazine | November 21, 2017

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Nine churches, 350 ministers

Nine churches, 350 ministers

Churches in Sheffield are trying an unusual kind of team ministry, reports Simon Copley

In January 2015, nine United Reformed Churches in Sheffield joined together in a team ministry. We have four ministers, two of them full-time and the other two (including myself) making up one full-time post between them. The unusual thing is that none of us is attached to particular churches, but all work with each of the nine congregations. We cover an 11-mile area from Oughtibridge URC in the northern outskirts of Sheffield to Dore and Totley in the south west.

Throughout 2014, a task group looked at the question of ministry across the city, to work out the best setup for our churches. It was surprisingly easy, and we reached agreement in a very short space of time. First, the task group met with all the churches, listened to their visions, their hopes and challenges, and put together a plan which it presented in May. The churches discussed and voted over the summer, and nine out of ten agreed to join the set up.

The biggest problem was working out the finance, but there was a lot of willingness and it turned out to be one of the most positive parts of the whole process. We put the vision in front of the churches, and watched them rise to the challenge. We set out how much money would be needed and, while some small churches said they couldn’t afford to give any more, larger churches offered to increase their giving. One small church even offered their whole reserves. The working party looking at finance reported in September 2014 and everything fell into place. …

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This is an extract from an article that was published in the November 2017 edition of  Reform

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