Programme Journey

“Fit for Mission brings hope and vision for the future of our church communities. I am heartened by the places where clergy are coming together in teams to bring their diverse skills, their different church traditions, their wide theological perspectives to focus on what is important.  I hope that by engaging in this journey, all deaneries within our diocese can discern a path similar to Jesus’ mission and ministry. He laid down a model of working in teams and sent people out in twos and in groups, taking time to be away from the crowd, knowing when to engage and when to stand back and take time. We need to model that in our lives and our ministry."

The Right Revd Dr John Perumbalath, Bishop of Liverpool


A unique journey

Just as we differ across our diocese in traditions and approaches, so will we differ on the unique Fit for Mission journey that each individual, church and larger parish will experience.
The locally-led nature of the programme means that parishes, rather than “the diocese” will make decisions about the best path forward for their local context. To provide guidance and support through this journey, we have outlined the three key stages: Engage, Act as if, and Formalise. You can learn more about these stages below.


This is the first stage in the journey, where clergy, lay leaders and PCCs can explore and discuss their hopes, dreams, worries and questions about what it may mean to work as part of a larger parish. Activities include PCC visits, Q&A sessions, videos and deanery roadshows. We can also provide physical and digital resources dedicated to key topics such as governance, finance and buildings, to help the wider congregation understand Fit for Mission.

Clergy will work through a 10-session coaching programme, which helps deanery chapters collaborate more effectively, build deeper relationships and assess both opportunities and challenges of working as a larger parish. An assigned team coach will support this.

At the end of this stage, each church PCC will decide how they feel about working together as a larger parish.

Acting as if

At the beginning of this stage, churches that have decided to work together as a larger parish will form local teams to make key decisions about the functioning of their larger parish. This period is a real opportunity for local people to get involved and shape the future of their parish. You can find out more about teams here.

A change facilitator will support throughout this period, alongside ongoing clergy and lay leader coaching. Additionally ‘Cultivate’, a lay leader development programme will train, mentor and support people in planting new worshipping communities and justice initiatives and support existing ones.

During this stage, we will consider, decide, and communicate various aspects before forming a shadow PCC to pave the way for the new larger parish PCC.

Towards the end of this stage, we will hold a consultation about legally becoming a larger parish, giving everyone a voice about the future of the parish.


Once the Church Commissioners accept the final proposal for the new larger parish, a pastoral reorganisation will take place, changing the legal boundaries of the parish. However, the great work established by teams during the Acting as if stage will continue.

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