On Saturday 30th April, as part of the Partnership for Missional Church (PMC) initiative, people gathered in St John’s for a half-day of discernment looking at What’s God up to Here?

There were around 50 attendees from the three CTM congregations who gathered in small groups around tables to hear reports from the earlier phases of PMC and to discern together where and how God is currently at work within this parish.

These discussions were structured around a brainstorm and a ‘floated conversation’, outputs from both of which were gathered for each table. These detailed outputs are collected together in later sections of the full report (PDF download).

Across the groups there were a number of themes which stood out, along with a number of ideas which could usefully be actioned. Some of these action ideas will feed into subsequent phases of the PMC process, but there are others which could be taken up by groups within the congregations, and by the congregations’ leadership teams, to follow through on what God appears to be telling us.

Some Themes

  • God is already at work in this parish – change is happening.
  • Small groups of various sorts are a great strength: for individual faith and knowledge of the Bible, for building the body as people get to know one another, for pastoral care and support. How do we get more people involved?
  • We need to move outside our buildings to bring good news to all parts of our community.
  • Dealing positively with difference and disagreement.

Action Ideas

  • Different styles, types and times (and days) of worship.
  • Freshers’ Fayre to introduce congregation to the range of groups and activities available within the church, to inform and encourage involvement.
  • More parish-wide activities, such as this discernment day itself.
  • Can we connect more with schools in the parish? Eg by building up REInspired?
  • Make more use of modern communications to spread the message especially to young people; also to make worship services more meaningful.
  • Activities to get us used to talking about our faith, including ways of clarifying (for ourselves and others) key aspects, such as the hope we hold.
  • Follow-up on baptisms, weddings/banns, and funerals. Special services, tea parties, birthday cards, …
  • Meeting community needs, eg what could we do about loneliness & isolation within the parish?
  • Lunchtime concerts and/or talks, eg during Lent.
  • Build bridges to the groups who use Church House.