Presbytery of Derry and Donegal

Notice of Presbytery Consultation

To the Minister, Office-bearers and Members of the Congregation(s) at …………………………………….

The Presbytery in discharge of its responsibility for the oversight of Ministers, Kirk Sessions and Congregations, has arranged to begin a Consultation Process with your Congregation(s).
 
The purpose of the Consultation is to provide an opportunity for the whole congregation to focus on its present work and future mission. The process is set out under the headings of mission, fellowship, discipleship, worship and ministry to help in the task of thinking
about what we do, why we do it, and how it might be improved. There is also a section about buildings and finances.

This consultation is described as a ‘process’ because it takes place over the period of a year, and involves the congregation, the leadership and Presbytery representatives, beginning an exchange of information, ideas and concerns.
 
The Consultation will culminate in a public meeting with the congregation in  ………………..   (May / January).
In preparation for this the attached questionnaires should be forwarded to the Consultation Convenor by   ………..……….
The Panel may arrange other meetings as required. The process will conclude with the Consultation Panel presenting a report to Presbytery, which will then be distributed to the Congregation(s).

One year after the conclusion of the Consultation, the Congregation(s) will report to Presbytery on progress in implementing Consultation Recommendations.

Our hope is that by the conclusion of the process everyone will be encouraged to work to fulfil God’s will and purpose for His Church.
 
Yours sincerely


(Convenor of Presbytery Consultations)

 

 

 

 


THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN IRELAND


THE PRESBYTERY OF DERRY AND DONEGAL

 

Presbytery Consultation Process


November 2010

Updated March 2014


 



 

Presbytery Consultation Process Basic Time Framework


Two Consultations will be held each year beginning in:- February / September.

Consultations will be held in order as Presbytery determines.

Detailed Time Scales of Consultations:

Preliminary Preparations.
Presbytery having decided the congregations being Consulted with, notice should be given by the Presbytery Clerk to the Minister
of the Congregation/s to be visited 12 months before the Consultation process officially begins.

This Document which contains all relevant questions required to be answered should be provided at that time, so as to give those
involved time to formulate their responses.

After 12 months has elapsed, at the February / September Stated Meeting of Presbytery,
the Consultation Panel, which shall be constituted as a Commission of Presbytery, shall be appointed.

The Consultation Panel / Commission shall consist of:-

Moderator, Clerk, a Convenor (who shall be Minister of the Congregation/s of a recently completed Consultation), a local Minister, and Representative Elders.


The Consultation Process will be in two parts:

Part 1

1:1.     Consideration and response to questions regarding The Five Key Areas
Mission
Fellowship
Discipleship
Worship
Ministry

1:2.     Review of Resources 

1:3.     Union Commission comments on financial matters for the previous year.
Post the completed form to the Convenor of the Union Commission in adequate time to
obtain a response which should be forwarded to the Convenor.                         

1:4.     Report from an approved expert on all property.
Accepted by Resolution of Presbytery in March 2009.
“Presbytery requires Congregations to have their property inspected by a suitably qualified
and independent expert, approved by the Presbytery; at all times when this is
needed.  The Presbytery or its Commission
must be satisfied that this has been done.”

1:5     All Congregational Analysis Sheets and other documents, i.e.  Review of Resources,
Union Commission Comments and Property Report etc., should be given to the
Convenor: by the end of February / September.

 
Part 2

2:1.      Presbytery Panel / Commission Consulting with the Congregation/s in May / January.
At this Public meeting the Minister will conduct an Act of Worship which
will be followed by the response to the 5 key areas (see pages 6-8) and the
Review of Resources etc. (See pages 9-14). Public Questions (page 5ff) to the
Minister, Kirk Session Representative, and Committee Representative should be
incorporated here.

Following the Congregational Meeting it would be normal for the Congregation to provide refreshments.

After refreshments have been served the Commission/Panel may have further discussion with the Kirk Session, Committee
and Minister.

In a linkage, each Congregation may need to be visited separately.

It may also be helpful to have preliminary/subsequent meetings with the Minister / Clerk of Session / Congregational Committee Secretary.


2:2.     The members of the Congregation/s will be given 2 weeks in which to respond to any points raised
at the Congregational Meeting in the form a signed written comment.

 
2:3.     The Commission writes the ‘Draft Finding’ gives it to the Minister in sufficient time for it circulated by the
Presbytery Clerk and subsequently approved at the September / March Stated Meeting (Presbytery Meeting held in the Church(es) being Consulted).
 

2:4.     The Convenor will comment on the Finding to the Congregations on a convenient Sabbath following the above,
the local Minister having arranged for its printing and circulation to the people before the Service.

 
2.5.     The Congregation(s) report(s) to Presbytery on progress of Consultation Recommendations one year after
Consultation Finding has been approved.

 

Summary of Timetable:

    Action                                                                                                    Consultation A  / Consultation B

Presbytery announce Consultation one year previously

Presbytery to appoint the Consultation Panel                                                 February        /         September

1:5 Completed Documentation to Convener                                               end of February   /     end of September

2:1 Presbytery Commission/Panel Consults with Congregation                          May            /           January

2:3 Draft Finding approved by Presbytery                                                    September        /            March

2:4 Report of progress on Recommendations                                                         One Year hence


The above Time scale should be adhered to so that the continuing Process will be not be disrupted.

 

The questions to be included at the Consultation with the Congregation (2.1 above) are as follows: -

1)       The Minister –

         Recognising the emphasis within scripture  of the public proclamation of the Gospel do you faithfully preach the doctrines of the Gospel set forth in the Confession of Faith of this church, especially the doctrine of the Trinity, of the deity and humanity of Christ, man’s fallen condition, his recovery through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, justification through faith in Christ, the deity, the personality and work of the Holy Spirit, the church and her missionary task, the sovereignty of Divine grace, the necessity of faith
and repentance wrought in us by God’s Spirit, and as a mark of our being in Christ, a life of practical godliness?

     The Minister should be asked to “Comment on the life and work of the Elders”.

 
2)       The Session representative:

         Comment on the life and work of the Minister?

         What do you see as your major opportunity/challenge in the next 5 years?


3)       The Committee representative:

          Do you feel that your property is in good order and adequate?

          Have you meet you united appeal target in the last 5 years?

          What do you see as you major opportunity/challenge in the next 5 years?

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 Preliminary Questionnaires to be completed and forwarded to Consultation Convenor:

 ‘The Five Key areas’    Questions to Minister, Kirk Session and Congregational Committee.


1. Mission
The Church’s mission encompasses everything that Jesus sends his people into the world to do.

Q.1 What aims and plans have you set as an evangelistic community for outreach in your parish area?  How would you evaluate your strategies in the immediate past?

Q.2 What changes have taken place in your local area, and do they require new strategies for effective mission?

Q.3 How are your members enthused and equipped to be witnesses at home, work, study and play?

Q.4 How does your congregation seek to fulfil the commission to be “Salt and Light” to the local community?

Q.5 a) How is the mission of P.C.I. (Overseas, Mission in Ireland, Social Witness etc. made know to your people?

      b) How do members identify with and involve themselves in the wider mission of the church?

 

2. Fellowship
Christian fellowship is about sharing what we have in common as fellow believers.  For the first Christians, therefore, meeting
together was extremely important (Acts 2: 42-47).  In every place where the church was established, the importance of good relationships with fellow church members was stressed. (Phil. 2: 1-4).

Q.1 What do you understand to mean by fellowship?

Q.2 What are relations like generally:
       Within your congregation?
       Within your Kirk Session?
       Within and between your organisations?
       Between leaders?
       With other congregations and denominations locally?

Q.3 What is being done by your Kirk Session to promote fellowship within your congregation?  How are you trying to make newcomers feel welcome and what are you doing to incorporate them into the life of the church?

Q.4 What is it that most hinders fellowship within your congregation, and what most encourages it?

Q.5 What would you do to restore fellowship where relationships have broken down?
 

3. Discipleship  
Discipleship is learning how to follow Jesus (Matt. 4: 19; Eph. 4: 11-13; Phil. 2: 5)   

Q.1 How are members being encouraged to deepen their understanding of the Gospel and their commitment to
Christ?

Q.2 What are the aims and approaches being used to promote discipleship through education programmes for various age groups, through leadership development and in the preparation for baptism, Communion and full Church membership?

Q.3 Has the congregation identified priorities for mission beyond its own membership (in terms of evangelism/outreach, meeting social needs, peacemaking, etc.)?
How are members being equipped to address these priorities?

Q.4 How are members being taught to exercise stewardship in terms of their gifts, abilities, time, and financial resources, in support of both the local congregation and the wider work of the church?

 
4. Worship
Worship is the activity of the whole people of God and depends on the participation and response of the whole congregation (Heb. 10: 24, 25). It should help us to experience God’s majesty and mercy (Ps. 3: 16, 17); to accept God’s love in Christ (John 3: 16, 17) and
to offer ourselves completely in His service (Romans 12: 1).

Q.1 The Shorter Catechism states that our chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever”.  How does your Sunday worship enable your congregation to do this?  In what ways could it be enhanced?

Q.2 In your worship (on Sundays and other occasions) what opportunities are provided for everyone to participate in a meaningful way?

Q.3 How do you try in your worship to reflect the experiences and expectations of the different groups within your congregation?

Q.4 a. In what ways does the architecture of your church building either enhance or hinder your congregation’s worship of God?

        b. How could your facilities be better used or improved to enhance worship in the life of your congregation?

  

5. Ministry

Q.1 The New Testament speaks of a church in which each member uses his/her gifts to serve others.  How does this work out in your congregation?

Q.2 What role does the minister (teaching elder) have in the overall ministry of your congregation?

Q.3 What role do your elders have in the overall ministry of your congregation and in what specific ways are they seeking to fulfil these?

Q.4 What opportunities and challenges face your congregation as you encourage people of all ages to use their gifts in the service of Christ?

 



Union Commission Return

 
Please complete, detach and forward together with a copy of the last Financial Statement, as early as possible, to the Convenor
of the Union Commission.

Name and full Address of Consultation Convenor

................................................................................................................................................

 

Date for return of Union Commission comments to Consultation Convener: …………..

 

Presbytery:      DERRY AND DONEGAL 

                                   
Congregation:       ..............................................………………..

 

Is it linked with another congregation?          …………

 

Year of present settlement:                             …………

 

Number of families 5 years ago:                     …………

 

Number of families last year:                          …………

 

Number of contributing families last year:     …………

 

Specified Sources last year:                            …………

 

Total Income last year:                                    ………….

 

Stipend in current year:                                   ………….

 

Augmentation (if any) by CMF (excluding Union Grant - if any):    ………….

 

Augmentation 5 years ago:                             ………….

 

Amount of Union Grant (if any)                    …………

 

Locomotory Expenses in current year:           ………….

 

Heat & Light Expenses in current year:          ………….

 

Inadequate Expenses Grant (if any) last year:            …………..

 

Any other comments you wish to make:

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………...............................................................

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[Continue on separate sheet if necessary and attach same.]