Ministerial Development Review

The MDR scheme for clergy in the Diocese was launched during Eastertide 2017.

The Bishop’s Adviser for MDR Revd Gary O’Neill, after consulting with clergy, reviewers, Rural Deans and the Bishop’s staff team, has developed a new scheme which has at its centre the clergyperson.

Three principles lie at the heart of the scheme:

As clergy, we participate in MDR because we want to; as members of the body of Christ we are accountable to each other for the gifts and resources bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit for the benefit of the whole Church.

From this theological conviction flows the practice of MDR being something which, as a diocese, we do together, rather than something which is done to us. In a similar way that we are all minsters of the gospel by virtue of our baptism, in MDR we all participate in the bishop’s ministry of episcope by sharing oversight of each other, with each other.

The outcome of MDR is to seek to encourage, which means that although the process may involve challenge and probing, the springboard for conversation between reviewer and reviewee ultimately lies with the reviewee’s openness to that conversation; nothing may be imposed and the reviewee controls the output.

We are encouraging each other to consider MDR an annual discipline which we undertake together as a whole Diocese, and to this end we are encouraging an MDR season for each year.

This year the schedule has slipped due to staffing resources, so whereas the season would normally be the space between Easter and the summer, in 2018 it will be the period September to November. In 2019 the season will revert to the period between Easter and the summer. It is envisioned that a review season will become part of the rhythm of both our personal lives and the life of the Diocese.

All clergy in the Diocese will be eventually be invited to join the scheme and members of the Bishop’s staff team are also joining in. In 2017 we concentrated on those in Common Tenure or holding the Bishop’s licence and will do so again initially in 2018; this is currently about 170 people.

A fundamental principle of the scheme is that it is person-centered and a key characteristic is that the clergyperson meets with someone every year over a four-year cycle as in the diagram. It does not matter where they start in the cycle. Over four years they see: a) their chosen dedicated reviewer; b) the Rural Dean; c) their own spiritual adviser or prayer friend; and b) a Bishop or Archdeacon.

Reviewees will be able to choose a reviewer from a list of accredited people, and make their own arrangements for spiritual direction. Reviewers will be encouraged to produce the first written drafts of the outcome of meetings but the reviewee has the final say on what the account says – these outcomes travel with the clergyperson around the cycle and are seen by subsequent reviewers. The complete control of what goes into this paperwork always remains in the control of the clergyperson who is being reviewed; reviewers may not pass on anything that is discussed in an MDR meeting without the express permission of the reviewee.



A clergyperson may choose whether or not to take up the option of a 360° or external perspectives review with any of the reviewers. The MDR office will supply details on request of how to conduct such an approach.

MDR is not about appraisal; it is about encouragement and personal development.

My Dedicated Reviewer

Given the cyclical nature of the scheme and the four different quadrants in use of review, it was possible to launch the review and have all members of the scheme begin the process of MDR at the same time. When a reviewee enters the My Dedicated Reviewer quadrant of the process they will be given some choice as to which person to use, subject to availability.

Rural Deans

Each Rural Dean will normally see a quarter of the Deanery each year but in a larger Deanery a second person may also be nominated. Any clergyperson who has reservations about this arrangement should speak to the Bishops MDR Adviser privately.

Spiritual Advisers

Although the diocesan list is available from Revd Graham Green, there is no expectation that clergy have to use a name from the list or that those currently on the list have to participate as part of the scheme. It is not necessary for a clergyperson in the programme to reveal who their spiritual adviser is and the minimum requirement, for that year of the cycle, is that a declaration is made that a meeting has taken place. The reviewee may wish to share goals or insights gained during the conversation but there is no obligation to do so.

It will eventually be possible for a reviewee to ask to see their own dedicated ‘My Reviewer’ in this quadrant of the cycle, subject to agreement with the said reviewer.

Bishops / Archdeacons

As well as Bishops Peter, Keith and Libby, this quadrant of the review cycle includes both Archdeacons and Assistant Bishops.


The scheme will be overseen by Revd Gary O’Neill and administered by Peter Bacon in Church House.

MDR is a requirement for all on Common Tenure, and is a resource for ministry that the Bishop is obliged to provide so that the training needs of the clergy are supported and development affirmed. The Bishop believes that MDR is also valuable for those remaining in freehold posts, and encourages all to participate as the capacity of the scheme expands.

MDR is an important opportunity for all licensed clergy to spend some time reflecting on how their ministry has developed and how it can be further strengthened. As part of MDR, clergy are encouraged to identify future training needs that will support and enhance their ministry. Clergy are welcome to discuss these personally with the Continuing Ministerial Development Officer, Revd Canon David Herbert, who will assist clergy in exploring some of the resources available.


Revd Gary O'Neill: tel: 01928 723327

For CMD enquiries relating to MDR:
Revd Canon David Herbert  tel: 07889 217589 


Review Form for meeting with Bishop or Archdeacon

Review Form for meeting with My Reviewer

Review Form for meeting with My Spiritual Guide

Review Form for meeting with Rural Dean

Self review questions for consideration before meeting a Bishop or Archdeacon

Self review questions for consideration before meeting with My Reviewer

Self review questions for consideration before meeting your Rural Dean

Summary graphic of Diocese of Chester scheme

National guidance and legal framework

National review of MDR in 2014

Ways ahead – provisions for Continuing Ministerial Development in the Diocese of Chester



Page last updated: 6th Aug 2018 10:29 AM