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Dreaming of THRIVE-ing

by Michael Ford last modified 02 Apr, 2019 06:06 PM

The THRIVE course, designed to promote growth and collaboration in rural parishes, held its inaugural session with three of Dorset’s multi-parish benefice teams last week.

The Revd Carol Langford, Rector of the newly formed multi-parish benefice of West Purbeck, was in one of the first teams and said the two-day event in Blandford was a great success:

"Our Benefice is very new, we only came into being on 14th March, so when our RFO [Rural Field Officer] visited me and introduced the idea of the course - ‘THRIVE: Multi-Parish Benefices that Work’ - it seemed to be exactly what we needed to take us forward.

"Our initial team of nine members committed to four sets of two-day non-residential training over two years, and to meeting together in-between times to identify and work on projects that would help to make our multi-parish benefice ‘work’.

"Each of the two days began and ended with prayer and reflection and each benefice shared good new stories, their journey and hopes and dreams for the future. Together we looked at some of the external influences, the prevailing culture, shifts in demographics and attitudes towards religion etc that have affected and challenged, if not thus far changed us all."

The course includes video clips from leading practitioners in the field that show how different bespoke models of multi-parish benefices work.

Carol, who serves the parishes of Affpuddle with Turnerspuddle, Bere Regis and Wool and East Stoke, said:

"Each benefice was asked to identify their ‘burning issue’ that would be worked on in the coming months. We were then challenged to dream dreams and imagine what our benefice would look like in 2020.

"I’m pleased to report that we carried these resolutions through; we have met and set dates for prayer, a flyer has been prepared and the first presentation at an APCM, which all of the team will attend each time, is this coming weekend. Of course, we expect some challenges along the way, but ‘THRIVE’ has really energised us and we look forward to the future with great excitement and anticipation."

A new THRIVE Course centred in Wiltshire starts later this year. Contact your RFO for more details.

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