Stories from the Parishes

Stories from parishes working with the 8 essential quality characteristics in Coventry Diocese.

Kate Massey - Stockingford

I am the very new vicar of Stockingford and I’m probably only still in the diocese because of the 8EQs! When I started looking for my first parish post-curacy, St Paul’s was on my radar. I thought it was a really good church, but not a good fit for me. However, reading their profile changed my mind – I felt here was somewhere I would be a round peg in round hole. 


Prior to my appointment at St Paul’s, I was on a placement in Meriden which is a very different church with different needs. Going in as a new priest into both parishes, I found the 8EQs incredibly helpful. Interregnum’s and vacancies can be creative times and frustrating times – and you start in a new parish with million good ideas, and not sure what to do first. I love that 8EQs get people to take a step back and set priorities and timescales. 

The 8EQs work well with my style of ministry – my husband calls me painfully collaborative! At my installation at St Paul’s, Bishop Christopher said to me that vicars come and go, but the congregation remains as God’s people in that place, and I agree wholeheartedly with this. Whatever I implement has to be owned by the whole of the church community: I have to work with their character and spirituality. The 8EQs help me do that. And I really like that it’s not just the PCC, but a good representative sample of the congregation who get to answer the survey. All in all, it’s a very useful approach. 

 

Craig Groocock - Harbury and Ladbrooke

I am Priest-in-Charge of Harbury and Ladbrooke and Area Dean of Southam.   

Without going into specifics I want to share some feelings I have experienced, that the 8EQs process has left me with.  I’m more on the catholic end of the spectrum, but not defensively so.   So when the 8EQs were first introduced I felt cynical,  I thought “here we go again”.  

I condemn myself for some of the feelings I had, having seen the 8EQs a bit like re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic.  As I went through the process, I had to think again about it.  As a good catholic I have been used to very little talk of leaders in the church, we talk more of the priest.  We don’t feel called to succeed, we’re called to follow.   

But I started to think deeper – an anglo-catholic friend said – “who doesn’t want their churches to grow, who doesn’t want their worship to be inspiring, their people to be passionate”.  I realised that Churchmanship is irrelevant, we do want to grow.   Harbury is going through the 8EQs process and completed the survey – the results are now being disseminated.   We have found it very helpful.  

One of the big thing that came out didn’t surprise me but surprised some people – the vicar’s doing too much.   Our survey results showed that the clergy being stretched to breaking point.  

I have found this process extremely supportive of my ministry, and people are waking up to needing to take responsibility and being involved in leadership in my parish.  

 

Chris Knight - Leamington Priors St Mary's

Natural Church Development (NCD) is all about releasing the potential that God has already implanted in our lives. 


We conducted our first congregation(s) research surveys in November 2013 and spent 2014 developing and launching our strategy to work on our lowest score area that was Passionate Spirituality. We used our greatest strength of Holistic Small Groups to introduced a series of preaching and teaching to the church on Passionate Spirituality

We produced bespoke bible studies with actions for people to put into practice such as praying and fasting; going on an individual or group retreat and other aspects of spirituality. This was all geared to challenge us to grow in our passion for the Lord. 

The results have been tangible as more people are contributing to worship services giving testimony and the spiritual atmosphere has definitely gone up.  NCD has been so helpful as it has enabled us to focus on what the church needed to grow in.
 

Chris Knight - Leamington Priors St Mary's

Natural Church Development (NCD) is all about releasing the potential that God has already implanted in our lives. 

We conducted our first congregation(s) research surveys in November 2013 and spent 2014 developing and launching our strategy to work on our lowest score area that was Passionate Spirituality. We used our greatest strength of Holistic Small Groups to introduced a series of preaching and teaching to the church on Passionate Spirituality

We produced bespoke bible studies with actions for people to put into practice such as praying and fasting; going on an individual or group retreat and other aspects of spirituality. This was all geared to challenge us to grow in our passion for the Lord. 

The results have been tangible as more people are contributing to worship services giving testimony and the spiritual atmosphere has definitely gone up.  NCD has been so helpful as it has enabled us to focus on what the church needed to grow in.

Chris Knight
 

Richard Hare - Bedworth

I am Area Dean of Nuneaton and Team Rector of Bedworth.   We did the 8EQs survey in the Autumn of 2013 and our lowest quality was Gift-based Ministry.  This means that people said they weren’t qualified or gifted for the jobs that they were carrying out in church – or at least thought they weren’t – round pegs in square holes, if you like. 
 
One of the nice thing about 8EQs is that it raises questions, it doesn’t give answers.  So we were free to tackle the problem in a suitably Bedworth way.  Following a day away for our leadership team, in which we prayed and made plans, we did a Lent course called Network, which enabled people to identify their gifts.  We followed this up by laying on one-to-one interviews for everyone, having trained a team of 15 people to do this.  After Easter we preached through 1 Corinthians 12-14.  We then held a “Taste and See” afternoon one Sunday so that people could try out new ministries.  This was a bit of a disaster – lots of people stayed for the lunchtime BBQ and then went home!
 
We did the survey again a year later, and Gift-based Ministry went from being our bottom quality to our top one.  Moreover, all our quality areas had improved.  One or two people have started new ministries (we now have a craft group, and there are plans for a dementia café), but most simply feel more confident in what they are doing – which is very valuable in itself.  
 
Our lowest quality is now Need-oriented Evangelism, so we are having fun working on that.

Richard Hare

Richard Hare - Bedworth

I am Area Dean of Nuneaton and Team Rector of Bedworth.   We did the 8EQs survey in the Autumn of 2013 and our lowest quality was Gift-based Ministry.  This means that people said they weren’t qualified or gifted for the jobs that they were carrying out in church – or at least thought they weren’t – round pegs in square holes, if you like. 

One of the nice thing about 8EQs is that it raises questions, it doesn’t give answers.  So we were free to tackle the problem in a suitably Bedworth way.  Following a day away for our leadership team, in which we prayed and made plans, we did a Lent course called Network, which enabled people to identify their gifts.  We followed this up by laying on one-to-one interviews for everyone, having trained a team of 15 people to do this.  After Easter we preached through 1 Corinthians 12-14.  We then held a “Taste and See” afternoon one Sunday so that people could try out new ministries.  This was a bit of a disaster – lots of people stayed for the lunchtime BBQ and then went home!
 
We did the survey again a year later, and Gift-based Ministry went from being our bottom quality to our top one.  Moreover, all our quality areas had improved.  One or two people have started new ministries (we now have a craft group, and there are plans for a dementia café), but most simply feel more confident in what they are doing – which is very valuable in itself.  
 
Our lowest quality is now Need-oriented Evangelism, so we are having fun working on that.