WBB 21 Conference Report

Over 50 members of the Benefice met at the Donnington Grove Hotel on Saturday 10th March for our Benefice Conference. The day began with coffee at 10am followed by a short service lead by myself & Archdeacon Olivia.

Following this the day was handed over to Jane Myers our facilitator for the day. The calm way in which Jane conducted the conference was appreciated by all who were present. There were three opening addresses by myself and the two Clergy who had conducted the earlier meetings around the parishes. All agreed that this had been a very useful process in terms of identifying where the parishes were and as a way to begin various conversations on the subjects that had been allocated.

Following these talks Jane took over and indicated the way the day would unfold. Each group of parishes was given a table covered in wallpaper and plenty of markers. For about thirty-five minutes they were asked to begin a conversation and to record their conversation on the wallpaper. Following this they were asked to circulate around all the tables and to again write down what they felt about what others had written. By about twelve noon all the sheets were covered with comments of various kinds. Just before lunch we began to distil these comments into useful areas that the Benefice could focus on going forward.

Following lunch we had a ‘POST IT’ session. This centred on four questions. What are we doing well? What could we do better? What are the amazing opportunities we have going forward? What threats do we face? Once again our flip charts were covered with hundreds of suggestions.

Our final session was to divide all into six groups made up of representatives from all the parishes. Jane then posed three questions.

1.      What can I do?

2.      What can the Parish do?

3.      What can the Benefice do?

People seemed to find this the most difficult session of all. However some wonderful suggestions were made and some offers were made by individuals in terms of specific actions that would come about as a result of conversations that had taken place.

Needless to say there is now a great deal of work required in order to take what was a very positive day for the Benefice and to harness the enormous goodwill that has been generated. I would hope that all of this initial work will be ready to present to all the APCM’s in April.

I thank all who were present for making the day such a success and I look forward to working with you all in the months ahead.