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Frome Group Ministry
Specifically the present Group Council has the following aims and objectives:

  • Seek to develop areas where co-operation would be of mutual benefit

  • Encourage consistent policies in such matters as preparation for baptism, confirmation and marriage

  • Give advice or make recommendations on any matters remitted to it by parochial church councils, and make decisions on matters delegated to it

  • Encourage the sharing with other parishes of those areas in which any one parish has particular skills

  • To arrange at least one service each year which will be truly shared by all parishes in the group

  • To co-operate closely with Frome Area Christians Together in forwarding the ecumenical dimension

  • Oversee development of ministry patterns in accordance with the Deanery Plan.

A Scheme under Church Representation Rule 17B provided for the establishment of a Group Council for the Frome Town Group Ministry. With minor italicised amendments which the Parochial Church Councils of the five parishes have agreed in 2007 and which we anticipate formalising in due course the scheme below provides the framework for operation of a Group Council now.

  • 1. A Group Council (‘the council’) as established shall be for the parishes within the Frome Town Local Ministry Group (‘the group’).

  • 2. Membership The membership of the council shall comprise:

    • (1) the incumbents of the parishes [Christ Church, Holy Trinity, St John’s, St Mary’s & Woodlands] in the group

    • (2) every assistant curate, deaconess and stipendiary lay worker licensed to any parish in the group

    • (3) two lay representatives elected annually by and from among the parochial church councils of every parish in the group.

    • (4) Up to two additional persons at the invitation of the group council (e.g. representative of retired ministers, lay readers, ecumenical partners as relevant to current business)

  • 3. Chairmanship The first chairman of the council shall be appointed by the members of the council at its first meeting, such meeting to be called by the Rural Dean, to serve for one year; thereafter a chairman shall be elected by members of the council to serve for one year.

  • 4. Meetings The council shall meet at least twice in every calendar year

  • 5. Procedure Subject to anything in this scheme or in the Church Representation Rules matters of procedure shall be determined by the council at its discretion

  • 6. Purpose The council shall meet from time to time for the purpose of consulting together on matters of common concern

  • 7 Functions There shall be delegated by the parochial church council of each parish in the group to the council such functions as each parochial church council may decide, other than its functions as an interested party under Part I of the Pastoral Measure 1983 and its functions under Part II of the Patronage Measure 1986. [and section 3 of the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993]

  • Note:
    Re item 5: The Councils view is that where representatives are unable to attend any meeting a deputy should normally be sent to ensure communication and representation.
    Re item 5: Unless at least six persons representing at least three parishes are present no decision of significance should be made.

Background to the Group Ministry up to 2004:

  • The ancient parish of Frome Selwood comprised over 7000 acres of land corresponding to the present parishes of Frome St John the Baptist (founded 685), St Katharine East Woodlands (built 1714, consecrated 1811), Frome Christ Church (built 1818), Frome Holy Trinity (built 1838) and Frome St Mary the Virgin (built 1864). About 1862 the parish was divided into four districts: Frome St John the Baptist, Woodlands, Frome Christ Church and Frome Holy Trinity.
    The Rectory of the ancient parish belonged to Cirencester Abbey until the reformation after which it passed into the hands of the Longleat estate. Patronage of the parish was with Longleat until 1939, after which the patronage for Frome St John the Baptist and Woodlands transferred to the Diocesan Board of Patronage. The patronage of the other three parishes was in the hands of the Vicar of Frome St John the Baptist through the 1950’s and has since passed to the Bishop of the Diocese.
    The journey towards a Group Ministry in Frome began as early as 1977 with the suspension of livings as they became vacant. By 1987 plans were being developed for the Group Ministry based on the four town parishes with their three incumbents (Frome St Mary being at the time united with Frome St John the Baptist as one benefice).
    Woodlands did between the 1860’s and 1950’s have its own Vicar but is now held in plurality with Frome St John the Baptist. This reflects the Trust upon which it was built by Lord Viscount Weymouth and later consecrated: “that the said Church or Chapel shall be from henceforth for ever annexed to the Vicarage of Frome aforesaid as a Chapel for Divine Service and to be made use of as a Chapel from time to time by the Vicar of Frome for the time being for the Use and Benefit of the Parishioners of the said parish of Frome and to and for no other Use Intent or Purpose whatsoever”.
    In 1989 the Group Ministry was officially launched with a Festival Eucharist on Ascension Day. The process of consultation over formation of a Group Council was well in hand by 1992 but it was not until 1994 that proposals were agreed, the Council formed and its first meeting held.
    For two years the Council met regularly but uncertainty as to its role given parallel developments ecumenically (FACT = Frome Area Christians Together) led to a decision in 1996 to meet only annually. After 2000 this seems to have lapsed with none of the clergy attending the small meeting that year.
    With the major developments across the Diocese in 2004 and formulation of a new Deanery Pastoral Plan (agreed 12th October 2004) a fresh role for the Council has emerged in oversight of the changing patterns of mission and ministry in the town. To this end an informal meeting of clergy and churchwardens has agreed that the Council be revived and that parishes be invited to appoint representatives. Though the Group does not officially include Woodlands it is agreed that they should participate in the Council ‘as if’ they were formally part of the Group Ministry.

  • Miscellaneous notes and background information
    If a group ministry is established, each incumbent in the group may perform the offices and services in the benefice of any incumbent in the group, but in accordance with the directions of that incumbent. The incumbents are to assist each other so as to make the best possible provision for the cure of souls throughout the area of the group ministry, and meet as a chapter. [Dale: Law of the Parish Church]
    The incumbents in a group ministry shall meet as a chapter for the purpose of discussing and reaching a common mind on all matters of general concern or special interest to the group ministry [Pastoral Measure 1968 II 20 (4)]

  • Church Representation Rules
    Where a group ministry is established the incumbents or priests in charge of all benefices in the group shall be entitled to attend meetings of the parochial church councils of all the parishes in the area for which the group ministry is established. They shall be entitled to receive documents circulated to members of councils of which they are not themselves members and to speak but not to vote at meetings of such councils.
    A clerk in Holy Orders shall be entitled to attend the annual meeting of the parish and take part in its proceedings - if the parish is in the area of a group ministry and he is an incumbent or priest in charge of any benefice in the group.

      Group Council meetings:

    • 18th September 2004
      Informal meeting of Clergy and Churchwardens in the light of process of forming Deanery Pastoral Plan. Agreed that the Group Council be revived to oversee changes in patterns of mission and ministry within the Town, acting as the forum for the Local Ministry Group. East Woodlands to be included in the meetings ‘as if’ it were formally part of the Group ministry. Parishes to formally appoint representatives. Possible shape of Local Ministry Teams agreed with three areas: Holy Trinity (with extended community and sector roles), St Mary & Christ Church (with decreased community role), St John (with extended community and sector roles) & East Woodlands.

    • 6th June 2000
      3 persons present. No apologies noted. There was informal discussion about possible future items for consideration by the Group Council. Communion before Confirmation a relevant issue. Clergy need to attend.

    • 8th June 1999
      4 persons present. 4 apologies received. It was generally agreed that the Council should continue to meet annually, should its input be required in the future. The Revd R Martin still retains custody of the Group Council’s funds and accounts which have remained untouched since the previous meeting on 16th June 1998. The next meeting will be held on 6th June 2000.

    • 16th June 1998
      6 persons present. 4 apologies received. A copy of the initial Constitution for the group had been found. It seemed quite in order that a meeting be held annually. The organisation within the town already established good links between all churches. Town clergy meet regularly. FACT had now been reorganised with Christ Church in the chair for the year. Group churches share Patronal Festivals. It was agreed that any further meetings would only be duplication. Accounts for the years ending 31st Dec 1996 and 1997 showed a balance of £35.84.

    • 10th June 1997
      6 persons present. 5 apologies received. It was agreed that the group’s Constitution should be checked. A meeting once a year seemed in order. FACT likely to be restructured later in the year. Involvement in community based activities to be extended. It was agreed that by meeting once a year The Group Council would be fulfilling the terms of its constitution but not trying to duplicate or cover items which come under FACT.

    • 19th November 1996
      6 persons present. 5 apologies received. Group Ministry role within FACT. It was proposed that in 1997 The Group Council meets only once unless otherwise required. This was unanimously agreed.

    • 9th September 1996
      10 persons present. 1 apology received. Various issues re FACT events. Group Directory. Draft information checked at the meeting. Plan is now to produce a master copy for each church.

    • 27th June 1996
      7 persons present. 3 apologies received. Main business re FACT and Advent service.

    • 13th May 1996
      7 persons present. 2 apologies received. Group Council Directory. Advent service. Agreed that within the group Ministry each church had its own identity and this could be used when developing ideas for future events. Developing Clergy strengths. Discussions put on hold until appointment at Christ Church made. Roundabout. To help establish group Council identity agreed that centre pages in the magazine would be for group events and notices. For agenda 9/96. Day Conference for Group Council? [was not pursued]

    • 11th March 1996
      8 persons present. 2 apologies received. Group Council Directory. Group Ministry: Vision for the future. Opportunities for joint worship Participation in Whit procession Clergy within the group could develop specialisms Youth Work fragmented at present Possible later time for evening service 8pm? Possible day conference for Group council?

    • 20th November 1995
      9 persons present. 3 apologies received. Vision. Lengthy discussion. Suggested that a list of objectives need to be drawn up for the Group Council.

    • 13th September 1995
      6 persons present. 5 apologies received. Sharing of a parish profile (in turn at each meeting?) Group Council Directory Vision. The Group needed to think very carefully about its role.

    • 12th July 1995
      8 persons present. 4 apologies received. New PCC reps welcomed and officers elected (Chair, Treasurer, Secretary) Future plans: Magazines and services.

    • 3rd May 1995
      No minutes to hand.

    • 1st February 1995
      9 persons present. 3 apologies received. Events: Lecture series. ‘Any Questions’ Pulpit exchange. Group Council Funds: It was agreed to ask each PCC for a £20 donation to cover administration and that an account be opened with the Portman Building Society under the name of ‘Frome Town Group Council’. Treasurer appointed. Signatories being two of the clergy. Common Fund. Unanimously agreed that each parish should be assessed separately by the diocese and that this should be recommended to PCC’s.

    • 19th October 1994
      11 persons present. 2 apologies received. Parish profile presentations. These will take place at subsequent meetings. One parish per meeting—to last about 10 minutes. Youth Work Communication and Publicity. Clergy exchanges: The clergy will arrange that in every year they will be in all four Churches once, to both Celebrate and Preach.

    • 29th June 1994 [First Meeting]
      12 persons present. 2 apologies received. Members were reminded of the terms of reference of the Council and that its decisions needed to be ratified by each Church Council. To enable the Council to work effectively it was agreed that we needed to share openly our skills, strengths, weaknesses and general experience. Myths and stories abound in the Town about individual Churches and it was agreed that it would be a good idea at future meetings for each Church to make a presentation about its aims, objectives, policies etc. The Clergy have a good working relationship and regularly meet with each other. Youth Work Good Friday Ascension Day: Apart from last year there had been a joint service on Ascension Day since 1989 when the Town Group Ministry was established.

    • April 1994
      Letter from Chairman of Group Ministry Working Party to Secretary of Bishop’s Council asking for Group Council to be established.
      We have been concerned that as the only point of official contact has been through the clergy, some of the difficulties and misunderstandings which have arisen among the laity were due to the lack of any effective machinery for lay consultation and cooperation.

    • Consultation in 1992.
      Draft scheme produced. Delay in approval by Parochial Church Meetings until 1994 when approved with only one abstention at one of the four meetings.
      Specifically the Group Council would:

      • Seek to develop areas where co-operation would be of mutual benefit

      • Encourage consistent policies in such matters as preparation for baptism, confirmation and marriage

      • Give advice or make recommendations on any matters remitted to it by parochial church councils, and make decisions on matters delegated to it

      • Encourage the sharing with other parishes of those areas in which any one parish has particular skills

      • To arrange at least one service each year which will be truly shared by all parishes in the group

      • To co-operate closely with Frome Area Christians Together in forwarding the ecumenical dimension

        A Scheme under Church Representation Rule 17B to provide for the establishment of a group council for the Frome Town Group Ministry.

      • 1. A Group Council (‘the council’) shall be established for the parishes within the Frome Town Group Ministry (‘the group’).

      • 2. Membership The membership of the council shall comprise: (1) the incumbents of the parishes [Christ Church, Holy Trinity, St John’s, St Mary’s] in the group (2) every assistant curate, deaconess and stipendiary lay worker licensed to any parish in the group (3) two lay representatives elected annually by and from among the parochial church councils of every parish in the group.

      • 3. Chairmanship The first chairman of the council shall be appointed by the members of the council at its first meeting, such meeting to be called by the Rural Dean, to serve for one year; thereafter a chairman shall be elected by members of the council to serve for one year.

      • 4. Meetings The council shall meet at least once in every calendar year

      • 5. Procedure Subject to anything in this scheme or in the Church Representation Rules matters of procedure shall be determined by the council at its discretion

      • 6. Purpose The council shall meet from time to time for the purpose of consulting together on matters of common concern

      • 7 Functions There shall be delegated by the parochial church council of each parish in the group to the council such functions as each parochial church council may decide, other than its functions as an interested party under Part I of the Pastoral Measure 1983 and its functions under Part II of the Patronage Measure 1986. [and section 3 of the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993]

      • 9. Commencement This Scheme shall come into operation on the date specified by the Bishop’s Council

    • 26th/27th? October 1989 Joint meeting of the four PCC’s Activities suggested; Public Witness: Good Friday, Carol Singing, Carnival, Outreach to young families Joint Worship: Songs of Praise, Ascension Day, Whit Procession Social Activity: Social events for all congregations, all choir members etc Other ideas: Quiet Day, Information & publicity, joint care of elderly, schools etc

    • Ascension Day 1989 Festival Eucharist to mark inauguration of the Frome Town Group Ministry Preacher: The Bishop of Matabeleland

    • 8th September 1987 Informal consultation to discuss the setting up of a Group Ministry in Frome. 30 persons present including the Archdeacon of Wells.

    • April 1987 Booklet ‘Caring Together’ - from the clergy inviting reflection on the possibility of a Group Ministry All 3 incumbents would now become Vicars with freehold.

    • 27th March 1987 Meeting of Deanery Synod Standing/Pastoral Committee to consider the future pastoral care of Frome.

    • From 1977 onwards Presentation to freehold suspended in respect of all Frome parishes as and when vacant. =================

    • Frome Town Group Ministry logo
      Based on the Frome 1300 logo. Permission for the use of this logo was given by the Frome Town Council in a letter dated 13th April 1989

    • Undated [1993-4] copy exists of
      A Pattern of Intercessions available for use in the Parishes of the Frome Town Group Ministry and East Woodlands. Themes for each day of the week rotating over 5 week period.




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