The clergy of this Diocese work faithfully and diligently, often in challenging circumstances, to preach the gospel and celebrate the sacraments, to care for those in need, to lead others in prayer, service and mission and to discern God’s call within a rapidly changing society. Ministry Development Reviews aim to be an empowering process to support and encourage clergy in this challenging ministry.
The practice of MDR is grounded in many passages in the New Testament. For instance often in his ministry Jesus took time aside to reflect and to pray. St Paul’s letters also provide a theological undergirding for MDR. Paul repeatedly insists on the mutuality of the members that make up Christ’s body, the Church. Each has their place in the work of ministry and must be mutually accountable to each other (Romans 12. 3 – 8, 1 Cor. 12. 14 – 31). They also need to encourage one another (Romans 1.12). The ministerial gifts that God gives need to be developed and occasionally rekindled (2 Timothy 1.6). These Pauline threads – of mutual accountability, mutual encouragement and the rekindling of gifts – lie at the heart of what MDR is about.
The MDR form uses the ordinal and the questions we are asked at our ordination as a way of reflecting afresh on our life and ministry. This takes us back to the wellspring of our own vocation as a source of renewal and reengagement with what attracts and excites us in our calling. We all need this kind of reflection and support and it is my expectation that all licensed clergy (both those on Common Tenure for whom it is mandatory and for those on Freehold for whom it is optional) will welcome the opportunity to take part in MDR.
The MDR process will involve clergy meeting either with one of the bishops or with one of the archdeacons. This will provide an opportunity for us to deepen our partnership in serving the people of God. It will also give expression to the on-going pastoral care and support of clergy and their families that is a crucial part of the ministry of bishops and archdeacons.
My hope is that through MDR you will:
- be given an opportunity to pray and reflect on your vocation and ministry
- take stock of your ministry so far and identify areas for further development
- be given an opportunity to be encouraged and challenged
- be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses
- set goals for your work and personal development
- identify and access the means for both personal and ministerial training, support and development
As we participate in MDR, I am convinced that we will become more confident and more effective in our various ministries as together we seek to serve God’s purposes and share in God’s mission in this Diocese.
Of course, MDR is only one aspect of the relationship of mutual pastoral care and support that Bishops and Archdeacons offer. Please continue to feel free to contact any of us directly at any time when you need to.