About Us

Towards a Mission and Pastoral Plan 2007


1. We welcome the opportunity to comment as a Deanery.

2. We welcome also the outward-looking focus on mission and on growth, rather than on managed decline.

3. We affirm the continuing value of the parish system as:

  • a place of commitment and ownership for a congregation

  • a context in which distinctive styles of worship can and are developed to serve differing needs

  • a focus for community identity with the church

  • a basis for wider, non-exclusive outreach, building on the strengths of each church community

4. At the same time we recognise that the Church is being called to take on a new role of holistic mission to serve our communities, as public provision to meet social needs is cut back

5. We acknowledge that the challenge of these changing circumstances calls for new ways of deploying and managing leaders, who themselves, both lay and ordained, are available in much more varied forms than in the past.

6. We rejoice in the recognition of the value of difference, and the willingness to respect and encourage each other, whether in strength or in weakness.

7. We accept our call with the whole the Anglican Church to respond in new ways to mission opportunities in a changing society, and in an increasingly diverse faith context.

8. We acknowledge in this the importance of the whole body of Christ, and therefore the special place of ecumenical partnership and endeavour.


1. We are a small Deanery (10 parishes, 9 incumbents, 2 chaplaincies)

  • We serve a population of some 70,000, divided between four main centres (Egham, Virginia Water, Chertsey and Addlestone)

  • We house a major university institution (Royal Holloway), a general hospital (St Peter’s), and a mental health NHS trust

  • These different centres, and the other places where there are churches (Englefield Green, Egham Hythe, Thorpe, Penton Park, Lyne, Ottershaw and New Haw) are all recognisably separate communities; if churches did not exist in these communities they would need to be provided (although not always exactly where the church buildings now are)

  • We have the considerable advantage of relating easily to the civic authorities because we cover the same areas as Runnymede Borough

  • ecumenically, we have developed links. The Chaplaincy at Royal Holloway is formally an ecumenical partnership (the Chaplaincy at St Peter’s is also very strongly – if informally - ecumenical). Englefield Green is doubly ecumenical, as both an Anglican-Methodist LEP and linked by Covenant with a wider grouping; and St Peter’s Chertsey is an Anglican-Methodist-URC LEP. Addlestone, New Haw and Ottershaw work closely with seven ecumenical partners in the South Runnymede Churches. Virginia Water has close working relations with the Methodist Church. Other churches also have good ecumenical links

2. Because of ecumenical partnerships and links, and because of past expectations and horizons, our parishes have for long been friendly to each other, but have not developed practical plans. At present few resources are shared; the main focus of mission, as this is differently understood, is to spread the Gospel from the parish church.

3. Details of each parish’s position are included in the appendix to this paper. There is much that is encouraging in each parish’s account, and in its hopes.

4. Each parish values its place in its community, and the recognition by the community of its part through time in families’ stories. This identity between church and wider community is to be fostered as a form of outreach and mission, both enabling contacts and building links, and living out God-with-us. This form of mission may well be reflected in occasional offices. The parish is the best context for pastoral work and mission.

5. Through the years, each church has developed its own, if evolving, tradition. There is considerable variation of style across the Deanery. This variety is recognised by all as a strength, to meet the needs of as many as possible, and that more can be achieved by greater sharing of our experience and results. It is recognised that the smaller churches need to be helped to continue their work, as well as the larger.

6. In our age of easy mobility for some, many who attend our churches find their way from other parishes, within and beyond the Deanery (and sometimes Diocese) to attend churches that meet their needs for worship and Christian community. All the parishes recognise the validity of this, and are content to facilitate ‘cross-boundary’ ministry (eg baptisms in another church), although they expect that each parish will live in the spirit of the normal rules for consultation.

7. The counterpart of this recognition of non-exclusivity for those able to travel is that each parish needs to make sure that the needs of those who can’t travel (the young, the elderly and the poor) are recognised in each parish and some provision made for styles other than the dominant.

8. All of our parishes are faced by situations in which the services provided by the public sector are being cut back. This is most noticeable so far in services for young people, as current fears about young people influence political attitudes. Our parishes see that these situations offer scope for the Church to witness to the Gospel through service to meet real needs. We should be quick to grasp this scope for holistic mission.

9. Linked with this is the growing recognition in education of the importance of the spiritual in the curriculum. Some schools have formalised church connections, either as church schools or with new affiliated status (infant and primary: Marshfield and Christ Church Schools, Ottershaw; St Paul’s, Addlestone; Stepgates, Chertsey; St Mary’s, Thorpe; Christchurch, Virginia Water; St Jude’s, Englefield Green; secondary: Jubilee High, Addlestone). Others have close informal links. Strodes College is developing a Chaplaincy in conjunction with the churches of Egham, St John’s in the lead. School catchment areas at primary level bear some resemblance to parish boundaries, though never watertight. However at secondary level this matching breaks down. We need to recognise this by making our schools work, particularly at secondary level, more collaborative than it is now.

10. In this complex mission context, influenced also by deep societal changes towards reduced commitment to relationships, instant delivery, consumer choice, widespread and increasing ignorance of the stories of the main faiths and suspicion of organised religion, the traditional tools of mission may be less relevant or less feasible, and new approaches are needed. Ordained stipendiary leaders are now less the focus for mission and outreach than as facilitators of these actions, while their main focus is to sustain their parish as a focus for worship, nurture and pastoral care.


1. The changes described in section B require cooperation between parishes if these are to be faced, and new strategies evolved. We sense God’s hand drawing us together around specific opportunities and mission needs.

2. This cooperation will be multi-faceted, and hard to categorise neatly. It will include:

  • geographical cooperation, when churches face common local situations
  • ecumenical cooperation, with churches of other denominations (eg the recent South Runnymede ecumenical mission, and the youth initiative by Egham churches with the local police)
  • possibly multi-faith cooperation, if suitable occasions arise (this is being explored with the new partnership of the Surrey Islamic Trust in Addlestone, and the Local Strategic Partnership
  • cooperation between parishes in different areas, because of shared interests, or seeking help from parishes with experience of particular issues. Areas of help identified include:
  • - skills in early learning
  • - strategy formation
  • - musicians and music
  • - encouragement to participate in mission, evangelism and pastoral care
  • - skills for parenting courses
  • - more licenced human resources (clergy, readers, youth workers)
  • - fundraising
  • - places for retreats/quiet days

3. Cooperation will need flexibility at many levels in parishes:o

  • we think it likely that stipendiary staff will normally remain focussed within the parishes they serve
  • where other ordained staff work across parish boundaries, they will tend to be focussed in specific and defined areas of mission, and so be able to serve different parishes without a sense of unfairness or competition for their time
  • we want to acknowledge the scope for cooperation between parishes amongst the laity in many areas (eg music, planning, fundraising)
  • we want to affirm the benefits of having recourse to specialist agencies (eg East to West) when these are better able to meet needs than parish-based resources
  • we further want to recognise the benefit of lay-led social outreach actions (eg Besom, in Egham) involving mixed denominations, and non-church as well as church people.

4. Cooperation will also need flexibility at the level of the Diocese.

  • We recognise and rejoice in the numbers of ordained non-stipendiary clergy, and of Readers, in the Diocese and Deanery
  • we find inflexible the present rules for the use of OLM staff. We understand that a general review is in hand. In any case, we would like to see a situation in which OLMs remain attached to a parish (normally that of their origin) but at the same time are free to minister across the deanery where ‘home’ and ‘inviting’ incumbents agree, without the need to consult the hierarchy (OLMs could need higher approval to minister beyond the deanery)
  • we are concerned about the hiatus that occurs between departure and appointment of leadership staff, especially ordained. We wish to challenge the benefits of long vacancies (see Bob Jackson’s latest work), and urge new procedures which reduce the length of gaps. We particularly underline the problems of allocating and replacing training curates, both as their ‘fixity’ to certain parishes and to the very real difficulty of running a parish and specific programmes which depend on the presence of staff when a gap of over a year often arises
  • this leads us to urge that parishes which are short of ordained clergy and which have the necessary finance to employ them be allowed to do so, possibly by the use of clergy from overseas or from another diocese. This would recognise the need to acknowledge and to help growth. The case of Virginia Water is immediate.

5. As always, there are specific issues affecting individual parishes which complicate the development of relationships


1. There are patterns of cooperation which already exist in most of the Deanery’s parishes:

  • the south of the Deanery, in the context of the ecumenical grouping of South Runnymede Churches
  • the new united benefice of Chertsey and Lyne
  • possibilities of linkage between Thorpe and Egham Hythe.
  • It is least established so far in the North of the Deanery, despite the shared major impact and opportunity of Royal Holloway on Egham, Virginia Water and Englefield Green. The size of these first two churches and the isolation of Englefield Green, with its own very different social context, have not led towards cooperation.

2. We have looked first at possibilities of cooperation which flow from geographical closeness.

3 The South of the Deanery: Addlestone, New Haw and Ottershaw

3.1 These three parishes cover three communities which are close together, but where New Haw and Ottershaw consider themselves separated from Addlestone. As churches, there are variations of tradition, but the three are now much closer together in this respect than was the case a decade or more ago. All three parishes have strong youth work, although in different styles. All three have links with local schools, which could be further developed; the most exciting recent step has been the affiliation to the Diocese of Jubilee High School in Addlestone.

3.2 The possibility of forming a group or team of the three parishes has been in the air for a number of years. However, the idea has not advanced in large part because issues within each parish have made it harder to look out towards such a change of horizon. The idea is also further complicated by the strong ecumenical grouping, South Runnymede Churches, to which all three parishes belong and which does much together. (This brings together 10 active churches of 7 denominations.)

3.3 New Haw and Ottershaw have managed to fund themselves and the parish share, although the future represents a challenge. At present this is not the case with Addlestone, the only parish of the three to have two stipendiary clergy. There may be benefit in sharing a paid post (ordained or lay) between the three parishes, rather than having a second priest in Addlestone alone. As noted in general, in the specific this would need to be related to defined areas of mission. In common with other parishes, there is a need to grow in ownership of mission objectives, and the presence of a clergy member (or Church Army officer) as leader of evangelism might help this process. Alternatively, the three southern parishes might take on and share a youth worker. Youth work in the area is also developing in a different direction as, with the help of some funding to be provided by the Addlestone parish, we seek to keep open the County-owned Addlestone Youth Centre. Practical cooperation of this kind might lead on to further levels of cooperation through a group or team relationship. There may also be possibilities of working together with Eikon (a Christian-led group working with young people in New Haw). It may also be that, rather than a youth worker, there would be a case for someone to help develop social initiatives, such as the Fathers’ Centre under discussion for New Haw.

4. The South-centre of the Deanery: Chertsey and Lyne

4.1 Following the decision in 2003 (?) to close Longcross Church, and the consequent reorganisation of parish boundaries, Lyne and Chertsey have formed a united benefice under the Vicar of Chertsey. Lyne had enjoyed the privilege of a village church, but the community had gradually grown away from the church. The link with Chertsey is now leading to a reappraisal of priorities and to a real mission focus.

4.2 Chertsey itself has placed mission high on its priorities for a number of years. This is now bearing much fruit, though the process of pruning for further yield, the absence of any complacency, and the availability of ordained resources both for Chertsey and for Lyne is a great help. With increased resources, more time and attention will be given to the church plant at the Penton Park mobile home park. The planned arrival of Laurence Gamlen will be a further help (see 7.4 below)

4.3 For the time being, at the geographical level the united benefice needs to be left to develop further.

5. The North-centre area: Egham Hythe and Thorpe

5.1 Egham Hythe and especially Thorpe are further from the influence of Royal Holloway than the northern parishes. Egham Hythe has a different church tradition from Egham; in the past neither parish has wanted to develop links with each other, though there are signs of some change. Thorpe is distinctive in its history (ancient origins), sociology, church tradition, and association with both The American School in Switzerland’s UK site and with the International Community Church which meets in its church... Both parishes divide responsibility for the Thorpe Lea estate. Both also recognise the need to reorganise for growth. Egham Hythe knows that its church plant needs reorganising, and the church reordering, in order to make better use of buildings and space for its work in the community as well as for worship. This would open up new possibilities for mission. There are however major obstacles to overcome.

5.2 The two parishes have discussed in a preliminary way possibilities for working together. Exciting possibilities of synergy have been glimpsed. Thorpe has a rich and distinctive understanding of mission, which should certainly continue to develop but which might find its fulfilment in the context of more regular activities identified (eg a shared magazine to be distributed to the whole community).

5.3 Egham Hythe lacks a stipendiary priest at this time; the Diocese is seeking candidates to fill the vacancy. Thorpe has a Vicar. It may be that an appointment at Egham Hythe might enable some sharing of time with Thorpe (say 10%) both to meet needs there and to further the development of mission-focussed cooperation between these two parishes. Another avenue may be deeper cooperation with the International Community Church; this now provides work with young people at Thorpe. Thorpe would also like to re-locate its counselling service from Thorpe to Egham Hythe, if suitable premises were to become available at the church.

6. The North of the Deanery

6.1 Royal Holloway’s student population impacts most on Egham, Englefield Green (within which parish the College is located) and Virginia Water. Students also live in Egham Hythe. Egham and Virginia Water have a major ministry to students, reflected in the presence of student pastors on the staff of both parishes. Both parishes share a contemporary worship style, though there are differences of approach. Virginia Water has a very close relationship with the Methodist Church in the village (the 8am communion service now takes place there, to allow for the doubling of the main Sunday service in Christ Church).

6.2 The Chaplaincy at Royal Holloway has a distinctive role, and depends directly on the University authorities. There may be scope for seeking to develop contacts with the College Chaplaincy, and to explore possible areas of cooperation.

6.3 Egham has put in place a review of student and young people’s ministry and outreach, to be conducted over the next few months by Andy Burns (formerly East to West, which works in Englefield Green County Council-funded youth centre and Egham Hythe – Magna Carta School). This review is meant to go beyond the confines of the parish’s own work to include the wider community, and will also include starting a new chaplaincy at Strodes College with ecumenical partners. It may identify areas in which ministry may be simplified and shared. This may include Englefield Green, where the youth centre is due to be closed, and possibly also Virginia Water and Egham Hythe.

6.4 There is also a shortage of ordained resources, against the growth which Egham and Virginia Water are experiencing. Egham is without a training curate until the summer of 2007; Virginia Water is expecting to experience the absence of a training curate from the coming months until mid-2008. As noted at C.4 above, we hope that a way can be found to enable Virginia Water to have the staff resources it needs to further its mission and growth with the range of activities required including the celebration of Holy Communion.

7. Sharing resources across the Deanery

7.1 The scope for sharing is not limited to development of shared operational ministries in a geographical area. There are also areas of great or growing expertise which would enable one parish in need of help in a particular area to call on another Deanery parish with relevant expertise. Examples (each parish could extend this list) are:

  • Addlestone’s experience with the DAC, and links County Council youth work
  • Chertsey’s experience of mid-week worship, and of mission
  • Egham’s richness in music resources, and innovative pastoral work (the Besom project)
  • Egham Hythe’s experience of collaborative ministry and teams
  • Englefield Green’s depth of knowledge of traditional worship styles
  • Lyne’s exploration of the agenda of change
  • New Haw’s experience of ‘cutting edge’ youth work
  • Ottershaw’s lively young people’s groups and after-school clubs in schools
  • Thorpe’s experience of social justice issues, and of counselling
  • Virginia Water’s experience of fundraising, and of strategic planning

This list does not do justice to all the richness of experience available, nor does it answer all the needs identified. But it is a start. We wish to explore ways in which this type of information may be made known regularly across the deanery. At the same time, each parish might be made aware of courses being run in each, and be able to send participants if appropriate.

7.2 The presence of chaplaincies at St Peter’s, the Abraham Cowley Unit and at Royal Holloway, offers a further opening to areas of ministry, and a richness of expertise in areas of their work. Parishes should be ready to seek help and guidance in these areas of ministry.

7.3 In the field of ecumenical relationships, some parishes have gained experience over a long period. While each context is different, there may well be scope for sharing experience. This may be especially so for Chertsey.

74 Chertsey and Lyne are expecting the appointment as an NSM of Laurence Gamlen, CPAS adviser to the South East, on his ordination next summer. Laurence, who will be mainly working in Lyne, is particularly interested in new expressions of church, and would like to be available across the Deanery for this purpose.

7.5 Ecumenical relationships may also come to be developed much further than has been the custom, leading to real sharing of ministerial responsibilities. This is likely to happen first with the Methodists. However, we should not exclude other possibilities, where relationships exist.

7.6 Relationships with other faiths may also be an area of sharing. As a parish in touch with a worshipping Islamic Centre, Addlestone may be able to offer help in this area.

8. Implications for the organisation of the Deanery and Diocese

8.1 A Deanery-based cooperation for mission, while it opens up new possibilities, may also carry with it new requirements if it is to be effective.

8.2 The principle is clear that the main place of development and of mission is the local parish. Cooperation at Deanery level, and the role of the central Diocese, should serve only to enable this, by equipping, supporting and if possible by releasing resources for the work of the parish. However in the structures of the Church of England this parish role can only be fully attained if there is cooperation with neighbouring parishes and the Diocese. No parish can work on its own.

8.3 Effective support of the parish level requires listening and understanding – parish to parish, across the deanery, and parish and deanery with the Diocese. This requires appropriate and regular opportunities for meeting across these areas.

8.4 It could be that the role of Rural (perhaps we should revisit the title, and move the Area?) Dean needs to be more pro-active. One possibility would be to recognise that this is a part-time function. In compensation, a curate could be given to the parish of which the Dean is incumbent.

8.5 Deanery structures would need to contain a robust Mission and Pastoral Group, representing each parish by both clerics and lay. This is likely to have to be constituted at least in part from outside the Deanery Synod. It would however continue to report to the Deanery Synod.

8.6 But change would not be limited to the Deanery structure. The way in which parishes and deaneries relate to the Diocesan level would need to become closer. We look to see a regular pattern of dialogue in which the Diocese and its senior officers become more available at deanery and parish level, and are seen to exercise greater managerial oversight and pro-active mission support in responsive partnership with this (and each deanery’s) Mission and Pastoral Group.


1. Mission objectives:

Q1&2 – the mission objectives of each parish are set out in the Appendices

Q3-5 – The emerging elements of our Deanery-wide mission plan include:

  • Coordinated and greater impact mission and ministry amongst students
  • Shared resources (people and expertise) to grow our varied youth work and step into the gaps left by retreating Statutory youth services
  • Clusters of parishes sharing various resources to help develop each other’s fruitfulness for the Kingdom and especially to restore growth in our smaller parishes/church plants
  • Drawing on our Link with Kebbi Diocese to stimulate creative and holistic mission to the disadvantaged or socially excluded in Runnymede.

2. People needs:

Q6 – extra lay resources: possibly a shared youth worker for South


Q7&8 – an additional ordained person for Virginia Water

perhaps a shared minister/lay worker amongst the South Runnymede


Q9 – training for outreach youth, community and student workers.

3. Structural alternatives:

Q10 – while parish boundaries have become porous, and should stay so, we remain convinced of the importance of such boundaries provided that they reflect the boundaries of the different communities of our Deanery. Apart from a few small anomalies, we believe that the present boundaries do indeed fit this criterion

Q11 – clustering as described above should help our mission plans

Q12 – changing our deanery boundary (to perhaps include Weybridge, possibly Oatlands, Byfleet and/or Woodham) would lose the very real advantage of our boundary complementing Runnymede BC.

Q13 – other boundaries:

  • changing the Archdeaconry boundary would only open the possibility of joining in Chobham parish
  • changing the Diocesan boundary could bring links with Staines, Ascot and Windsor which are all significant ‘catchment’ areas for Egham, Egham Hythe and Virginia Water parishes.

4. Finance:

Q13 (second one!) – We do not expect to have the income to finance all the initiatives explored in this Response. Application(s) to the Parish Mission Fund could be made

Q14 – some albeit limited pooling of resources within all four clusters of parishes is implicit in the initiatives outlined herein. Egham and Virginia Water in particular should be able to increase mission funding with the right vision for the area and its people

Q15 – no stumbling blocks remain so long as the Diocese keeps its central resource demands under tight restraint and supports/permits changes to licensing and deployment patterns over time.


1. The Deanery wishes to continue to work in the manner into which it has been led by the request to respond to the Towards a MPP document. The working group which has prepared a draft of this paper [has been] recommissioned by the Deanery Synod to become a permanent Mission and Pastoral Group.

2. Through this group, parishes in the Deanery will be encouraged to explore possibilities which now clearly exist.

3. For other matters, notably the Parish Share, the Group will act as a point of exchange between parishes, although at this stage the basis of parish share will continue to be the (new) Diocesan scheme calculated payments.

4. We hope that the response from this and the other Deaneries will lead to a real dialogue between the Diocesan centre, and the Deaneries. We are aware that we live in a time of rapid change, to which the Diocese also is seeking to respond. We wish to support and encourage the recognition of the need to move the focus yet more from centre to parish. The possibilities put forward in this paper will require refinement both at Deanery and Diocesan level which can best be found by cooperation between the two levels.

5. We invite a Senior Staff member from BSM to reply to our input and to visit us in due course to address our Deanery and engage in dialogue over the Diocese’s final Mission and Pastoral Plan 2007 and its specific actions in response to our requests

5. We thank the Diocese for its invitation to respond. We as a Deanery have benefited from taking part.