Christ Church Totland Bay is just one of eleven Anglican churches within the West Wight Cluster of churches. Following detailed discussions with PCC’s from the eleven churches the recommendation from our Archdeacon was that the parishes form themselves into a ‘Mission Community’. This allows a combination of parishes to work together with a common goal. This model of mission and ministry was developed in the Diocese of Exeter and has been introduced in the Diocese of Oxford. Collaborative working enables churches to do things together that they cannot do on their own. This form of working also encourages lay ministry with the clergy exercising more of a ministry of oversight, rather than doing everything themselves. For legal and practical reasons (including clergy housing and travelling distance) there are two groups (or clusters) of churches in the West Wight Mission Community; the ‘Towns’ (Freshwater, Yarmouth and Totland) and the rural ‘Country’ parishes (Brighstone, Brook, Calbourne, Mottistone, Newtown, Shalfleet Shorwell and Thorley) and each cluster will have a full time priest in charge. In addition, there will continue to be a either a house-for-duty (part-time, non stipendiary) priest or full time curate to serve all the parishes in the Mission Community in various degrees. All eleven parishes in the cluster are encouraged to work ecumenically through Churches Together In West Wight and other arrangements with non-Anglican churches in the area.
The West Wight Mission Community
The West Wight Mission Community is intentional in Mission and outreach, collaborative and supportive, it is enabling of people’s gifts and ministries and includes a variety of churches and styles. It establishes new expressions of church alongside the traditional and ensures a Christian presence, witness and care in every place. Not all parishes can or should offer every aspect of the church’s life and ministry but by joining in partnership with neighbouring churches and forming a Mission Community we can work together more effectively.
The Rev. Leisa Potter
The Rev. Leisa Potter, is now Team Vicar of the West Wight Emerging Mission Community and is Priest In Charge of the West Wight with specific responsibility for the Parishes of All Saints, Freshwater with St Agnes, St James, Yarmouth and Christ Church, Totland.
Following a degree course in Psychology at Plymouth University she spent several years in the care sector rising through the ranks to Duty manager in Painton, South Devon. From 1999 and over a period of almost ten years she started and ran an ‘Outstanding’ (Ofsted Inspected) child minding business. From 2011 to 2014 she completed a degree course in Christian Theology for Ministry with merit at Exeter University and worked with St Mary Magdalene Church, ‘The Living Room’ gaining valuable experience in running services and ‘Life Groups’ across a wide spectrum of ages and backgrounds focussing especially on those people with particular needs – expressed through a range of addictions and other life issues. Ordained in 2014 she has worked as part of a team of 12 churches at Ottery, St Mary in Devon, mentoring and enabling leadership and skills for ministry and exploring lay and ordained ministry with all those called by God to serve in communities and churches. Creative and contemplative worship for all people is a great passion, as is accessible worship, with an honouring of the traditional church.
The churches of the West Wight Mission Community are featured below.