The basic framework of the ministry and mission in the Church of England comprises parishes (units of administration), benefices (units of ministry) and deaneries (geographical areas). These provide the structural and organisational framework of how the Diocese operates.
Some of these structures and groupings are historical, and so need to be reviewed from time to time to enable the local church to be more effective in mission and ministry whilst balancing needs and available resources.
Parishes can be joined together or reconfigured in many ways, and boundaries can be redrawn. This is done through a legal process known as pastoral re-organisation under the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011. Re-organisation includes consultation with the PCC, deanery, archdeaconry and patrons. Following such consultation a Pastoral Scheme may be drawn up (or a Pastoral Order for minor matters). You can download this flow chart showing the main steps of pastoral re-organisation (also to be found in the Guidance Notes section).
Examples of Pastoral re-organisation are:-
- Union of benefices
- Union of parishes
- Creation or termination of Team Ministries
- Creation or termination of Group Ministries
- Creation or termination of Pluralities
- Closure of church buildings
- Appropriation of churchyard for a new use
- Parish boundary changes
- Deanery alterations