URC South SuffolkArea Partnership A Community of Churches Working Together
About the SSAP
This gives a summary of the history of the formation and initial actions of the SSAP
In January 2017, 9 churches from Central Suffolk Area Partnership were combined with another 9 from West Suffolk Area Partnership and 7 from Ipswich and East Area Partnership into the new South Suffolk Area Partnership. This was ably led by Rev Chris Wood who has now retired and there is a vacancy at Stowmarket, Haughley, Stowupland, Debenham and Mendlesham.This Partnership cannot make formal decisions on behalf of the URC. Rather, it was a discussion forum combining the views from the initially 25 churches to present to Synod and other decision making bodies. In the tradition of conciliarity of the URC, the SSAP should provide a very strong influence on their decisions. A key role for SSAP is keeping communications open between the churches and thereby sharing good practice of practical church management, pastoral care and theological matters. It offers a forum to share and help each other on all Church activities. Meetings take place four times a year with a representive for each church though one person may represent more than one of the smaller churches. A range of communications are being put in place. This website being a key one. Email and phone calls are also frequent means of communication.It should be noted that a new approach to Calling was put forward by the SSAP and agreed by Synod. Instead of being called to a church or churches the future ministers will be called to local churches or groups on an understanding that their responsibilities might change according to future demands, and to fully support the sharing of ministry within the SSAP. It is expected that there will eventually be five ministers working flexibily together to meet the needs of the 21 churches (it has been agreed that Stechworth and Cheveley will move to the Cambridge Area on January 1 2019). It is hoped that soon that the newly appointed minister Rev David Rees will spearhead this approach supported intially by a group of representatives from the 5 Ipswich and East churches including Tacket Street Baptist LEP.
•The SSAP is the informal but effective process of 23 churches working together by looking outward to and beyond each other and themselves.•Learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses•Helping each other by sharing experience•Sharing resources as needs are identified•Communicating by meetings, email, and this SSAP website
What it has achieved since January 2017?•Had the deployment plan for 5 Ministers approved by Synod•Shared resources and equipment – notified people of events•Initiated the Induction Process to recruit 2 Ministers for Ipswich and East•Brought about the Induction of Rev David Rees