Diocese of Portsmouth

Live | Pray | Serve

Our vision: Live | Pray | Serve

We originally drew up our Live | Pray | Serve vision in 2016, and it has guided our thinking ever since. As a diocesan family, we want to equip people to live as disciples of Christ; to pray, individually and together as worshipping communities; and to serve those living in our local neighbourhoods together. You can read about the theology that underpins this here.

Since Bishop Jonathan's arrival as our bishop in March 2022, that vision has been supplemented by two further priorities:

  • We deliberately prioritise our work with children, young people and young adults, to bring life-enhancing encounters with Jesus to a new generation.
  • This priority is set in the context of the provision of Anna Chaplaincy to support older people in every parish, benefice and cluster across the diocese.

From March to November 2022, the bishop invited our deaneries to rethink their deanery plans in the light of those two priorities. The result is a Diocesan Plan for Ministry, Mission and Finance 2022-25, which you can read about below.

Diocesan Plan for Ministry, Mission and Finance

The plan that aims to guide our mission, ministry and finances is one that our churchgoers have helped to put together. It's a living document and a tool for those overseeing diocesan life for the next three years. It includes preliminary implementation plans drawn up by all seven of our deaneries, as well as key members of our diocese’s executive team.

That means it’s neither top-down, or bottom-up, but a genuine collaboration. And that dialogue will continue, as this working document continues to be used in practice over the next few months and years.

The Mission, Ministry and Finance Plan 2022-25 was drawn together from March to November 2022, using existing deanery plans as a starting point. Bishop Jonathan asked our seven deaneries to revisit those plans through the prism of a vision for a diocese with Jesus Christ at its centre, called to live, pray and serve the Kingdom; and two strategic priorities:

  • growing faith among children and young people; and 
  • the spiritual care and nurture of older people through Anna Chaplaincy.

Among the plans that Bishop’s Waltham deanery would like to implement are to recruit a deanery youth adviser, review the provision of all church buildings, develop plans for transformational worship, and develop some pioneer work in the new Boorley Green housing development.

In Fareham deanery, a series of covenanted partnerships between parishes is being proposed. Leaders there are keen to move forward with a church plant and C of E school in the new Welborne development, learning lessons from what happened in Whiteley. They also see Hope Church, Whiteley, as a key mission opportunity, especially as it is now located within Cornerstone C of E Primary School. And there’s a desire for a deanery-wide mission priest and a greater Christian presence in secondary schools.

The Gosport deanery plans include enhancing families, children and youth ministry across the deanery, and the development of school chaplaincy. Anna Chaplaincy will also be established at deanery level, to develop ministry to older people. They also want to grow ordained ministry provision in Alverstoke.

Leaders in Havant deanery have put forward plans to promote every-person ministry, to establish a new Christian community in Horndean, and to recruit a pioneer minister for the Berewood development, west of Waterlooville. The deanery’s proposals on training and affirming various kinds of lay ministry have already been noted by Diocesan Synod. Parishes are exploring ways of working more closely together.

In the Isle of Wight deanery, there was a feasibility study in 2021 to examine the future shape of ministry in the north-east of the island. Although its focus was on Ryde, its prime purpose was to model for the deanery a way of developing strategies and plans that support the diocese’s sense vision and mission for growth. It demonstrated how this is working well in one of the study parishes. Among the other ideas to emerge are to create a single plurality to serve the town of Ryde and to plant a new congregation with Harbour Church, Portsmouth and the island’s pioneering ministry aimed at children, young people, families and young adults. As those plans come to fruition, other island parishes can be resourced to consider similar ways forward.

The Petersfield deanery wants to create a deanery-wide strategy to reach children, teenagers and their parents and wants to grow their links with senior schools. The deanery is keen on church leaders living and visible in each parish, while promoting key activities across the deanery, such as developing lay ministry and Anna Chaplaincy. And the deanery is investigating areas for new pioneer ministry. 

And in the Portsmouth deanery, plans include the development of pioneer ministry in the south-east of the city, the development of work with schools and colleges, and the expansion of the Bridgeway pioneer project to support young adults who are in need. Their plan includes the recruitment of a deanery children and youth adviser and a deanery co-ordinator for Anna Chaplaincy.

Those plans from each deanery have been put alongside plans from some central diocesan bodies and staff. The Diocesan Plan includes input from our cathedral, the Council for Social Responsibility and environmental advisory group, as well as those supporting parishes and schools in the fields of church planting, communications, finance, discipleship, pioneering, education, racial justice and stewardship.

Each deanery’s leadership team will be invited to share their ideas with the Bishop’s Staff Team over the next few months, and that dialogue will help to refine and focus the entire Diocesan Plan by Spring/Summer 2023. A shortened version can then be published on our website.

One consequence of a necessary reduction in the number of stipendiary clergy posts across the diocese is a new emphasis on self-supporting and lay ministry. Bishop Jonathan told Diocesan Synod members in November that he plans to ordain a new ‘Michaelmas cohort’ of self-supporting clergy, who could be deployed across the diocese, as needs be. The plan is to ordain them at Michaelmas 2023.

Parish stories: Live | Pray | Serve

Many of our parishes are already involved with initiatives that echo the thinking of our vision and strategy. We shared videos of some of those stories from our parishes during 2021. They included parishes that have increased their impact on their local communities via environmental initiatives, or serving others during the Covid pandemic; and parishes that have grown in numbers via digital worship launched during the pandemic.

You can see them again here.

Our Live | Pray | Serve prayer

Here’s a prayer you may wish to use in parishes and deaneries as we take the next steps forward with our diocesan strategy:

Lord our God, You make all things new.
Inspire our lives with your spirit
Renew our prayer with your grace
Transform our service with your love.
In the renewal of our life may your kingdom flourish
and your church thrive
so that all may come to know and love you
in your Son Jesus Christ.