A statement from the Diocese of Coventry
The Diocese of Coventry issued the following statement on 15 September 2020:
"The parish of Camp Hill has been without a Vicar for the past few years. Although the parish has been well-served by local clergy, all attempts to recruit a new minister have been unsuccessful.
A recent meeting of the Parochial Church Council considered the pastoral care of the small congregation at St Mary and St John’s Church. The council agreed that the congregation could be invited to worship at the nearby Abbey Church, where their former curate is now the Vicar. With a heavy heart, they also agreed that the on-going ministry of the church was financially unsustainable.
The closure of any church building requires a formal process which includes a period of consultation with all interested parties. This formal process has not yet begun, but it is likely to start in the near future."
A statement from Nuneaton Deanery
Nuneaton Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee issued the following statement on 17 September 2020:
“We note Camp Hill's unanimous Parochial Church Council decision, last Thursday evening, to start the process of closing the church for public worship at the end of January 2021. We acknowledge what a difficult decision this must have been and our prayers and thoughts are with the congregation of St. Mary's and St. John's.
As a committee we have long been concerned about the viability of the parish church and the lack of mission and pastoral ministry St Mary’s and St. John’s could provide without an incumbent to the community of Camp Hill. Problems with the building and the church’s inability to make a realistic contribution to the cost of ministry exacerbated questions around its long term viability. Several years ago we agreed as a committee to change the post to a fixed term three year appointment to assess the viability of the post going forward. Sadly, over the last three years it has been found impossible to make an appointment for this fixed-term role.
The statement made on the church's Facebook page stated that the decision had been taken in part by the PCC as a result of the deanery being unable to fund the post. For clarity we haven't as a Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee made the decision that we cannot fund the post. We acknowledge that as a deanery we are being subsidised by 2.5 clergy posts (£152 000) per year and the level of subsidy has increased over recent years. We know this level of subsidy is not sustainable long term.
We look forward as a committee to working with our bishops, archdeacons and the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee on the future for Camp Hill.”
Frequently asked questions
How does the formal process begin?
Once the Parochial Church Council and the Deanery have agreed a way forward, they need to submit a proposal to Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee (DMPC). In the Diocese of Coventry, the DMPC is also the Bishop's Council.
With the agreement of the DMPC, an initial period of consultation on the draft proposal with the interested parties can then begin.
Who are the interested parties?
An intial period of consutation with the interested parties will last at least six weeks. The “interested parties” are:
(a) incumbents of any benefices which would be affected by the implementation of the scheme, including vicars in a team ministry established for the area of any such benefice;
(b) the patrons of any such benefices;
(c) the parochial church councils of any parishes which would be so affected;
(d) the priests in charge of any conventional districts wholly or partly within the area of any benefices which would be so affected and the parochial church councils of such districts;
(e) the archdeacons and rural deans of any archdeaconries and deaneries which would be so affected or to which any such benefices or parishes belong and the lay chairs of the deanery synods of any such deaneries.
Who else is consulted?
The Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee will consider the views of all interested parties before coming to a final decision on what, if any, recommendations it should make to the Bishop. If it is agreed that the scheme should go forward, the Draft Scheme is prepared, it is again sent to all the above mentioned parties, and any others with an interest in the proposals. The church will be required to display this publicly. Anyone may make representations for or against all or any part or parts of the draft Scheme in writing or by email to the Church Commissioners during this six week period.
Where can I find more information about the process?
Further information about the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011 can be found on the Church of England website.
Stephen Davenport can also answer questions about the process if you ring him on 024 7652 1346