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Things to think about
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You are setting up a new Churches Together or similar group, renewing your constitution or simply realise that the group which was set up for a particular mission or task, needs some sort of structure. Read on...

First of all, have a look at our pro-forma constitution. That sounds stuffy but it is necessary protection and you can change it to suit your own circumstances.

Read the footnotes then consider the further issues listed on this page.

Geographical area

You will never create something perfect. Think about what is the natural grouping and be flexible. If a congregation wants to join then unless it makes your geographical area unviable, let them. Make sure you are not 'poaching' from an existing Churches Together group – if you are, check out why and if there is anything you can do to help them. Be aware that only a miracle will ensure a clear geographical area. A circuit or a parish may find your boundary cuts through its patch. Let them decide whether to participate in both if they want or to choose one.

Local relationships

Not all the congregations in your area will want to join but keep the relationships going and keep them informed. Invite them to shared worship or to help with shared mission. If you do a Christmas services leaflet or a church information leaflet for local hotels, they may be very happy for their services to be listed too. Grow your relationships.

There may also be Christian organisations or projects in your area which may be glad to sit around the table. Include them and keep them informed. At national level we call them Bodies in Association but you probably won't want to be so formal!

Looking further afield

Be aware that Churches work together throughout England (and beyond) in all sorts of different ways. You'll probably know your neighbours and will want to keep in touch with what they are doing to share resources and good practice. Look to county (or equivalent) level too and make sure your County Ecumenical Officer knows what you are up to. Keeping him/her informed may be as boring but as efficient as adding an extra e-mail address to your mailings. S/e is a good source of help, support and encouragement  – and will be glad to see a copy of your constitution too.

At national level, sign up to Churches Together in England's eNews.

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