St Mary Mother of God Church

213 Hornchurch Road, Hornchurch , Essex RM12 4TF

Parish Partnership

The Hornchurch & Upminster Three Parish Partnership Agreement

Mission Statement

We, the Hornchurch & Upminster parishes of English Martyrs, St Mary Mother of God and St Joseph’s, commit to coming together as a Partnership of Parishes.

Our joint Mission is to be a Christ-centred community which aims to promote spiritual growth and spread the Gospel by word, witness and prayer; bring healing and charity to those in need; and promote justice and peace.

We believe that all human beings are children of God (regardless of culture, race, gender or sexual orientation) and that the universality of Catholicism is based on encompassing diversity of traditions and gifts.
Conscious as individuals of our common humanity we come together to support one another in the wider community (especially all those that are lonely, vulnerable, poor and marginalised) as we travel together through life’s pilgrimage.

As an open and welcoming partnership, we are guided by our faith which is founded on the Word of God through Jesus Christ, the scriptures and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

In living out our Christian lives we strive to become a more joyful, modern and listening community guided by the Holy Spirit.

We are ever mindful that we are brought together in the presence of God through the Blessed Sacrament.
We seek to maximise the opportunities for our members to live out their Catholicism and contribute to the work of the Church in whatever way is best suited to their talents.

We commit to evangelising active and lapsed Catholics as well as those outside the Faith. We approach this by conveying that words and acts of kindness along with a commitment to take joy in God’s creation and protect the natural world are signs of Jesus’ empowering presence in the lives of each one of us.

Partnership Structure

We will remain as three separate parishes but work together over time to come closer together.

As a partnership our initial focus will be renewal and evangelisation of adults and young people.

We will continue with the partnership team to guide agreed partnership events and activities, coordinated by the Stewards of the Gospel with an annual rotating chair. It will continue to include representation from the three parish councils and finance committees along with the priests.

We will set up a working group with three members from each parish to coordinate youth ministry.

We will set up other working groups for individual activities where needed.

Partnership and Separate Parish Activities

Initially, we will seek to merge:

• Confirmation and RCIA programmes
• Alpha, Landings and adult evangelisation activities.
• Training of Eucharistic ministers and readers

We will cooperate on:

• Formation of the laity (e.g. Disciples of the Gospel)
• Baptism and marriage preparation
• Youth work
• Church groups (Legion of Mary, Knights of St Columba, SVP, CWL, Catenians etc)
• Justice and Peace, charitable and community activities (e.g. Pass it on)
• Outreach to the homeless, sick, elderly etc
• Healing (e.g. the Healing Well)
• Festivals, pilgrimages, processions, prayer groups and Adoration
• Social events
• Diversity, interfaith and ecumenical work

The separate parishes will initially retain their own control over:

• Administration and finances
• Safeguarding and GDPR
• First Holy Communion

In addition, we will commit to opening all our activities to all parishioners within the partnership.
We will also seek to hold cross partnership worship and social events each year.
We will consider employing partnership staff for specific activities if finances allow.

Communication

We will advertise all partnership activities and events in each of the parishes’ weekly newsletters.

We will set up a joint website to promote activities and masses at all three parishes.

Future Development

We will continue to evolve over time and any significant changes (i.e. governance or Mass times) will be taken back to the parishes for consultation while we will also update the Diocese on progress.

We will carry out an audit of properties considering current and future use. This will include discussions on making a presbytery available for retired priests at a time in the future when the partnership goes from three to two priests.

Once the partnership is up and running and renewal programmes are in place the working group will continue discussions on how Mass times will be affected by going from 3 to 2 priests in the future.
There will be ongoing efforts to ensure the laity can support priests in non-sacramental duties such as visiting the housebound and administration.

There will also be an ongoing effort to recruit more deacons to support priests and our communities.