Parish of Caversham, Thameside and Mapledurham Home St Peter St Margaret St John Contact Us

Partnership for Missional Church – Year one

< Return to the introduction

So what is ‘missional church’? Here are two definitions:

A missional church is one where people are exploring and rediscovering what it means to be Jesus’ sent people, not only as their identity but also as their vocation.

Missional church is faith communities willing and ready to be Christ’s people in their own situation and place.

What has happened so far? We have explored what makes our churches tick and what our congregations think of their churches to discover where we are now.

We put together a steering team from all three churches who meet regularly and have attended two training weekends. To start our journey of discovery a listening team was formed. The listeners interviewed a representative sample of our congregations using the same set of questions for each person. The interviews were recorded anonymously, assembled electronically and in December were sent to an independent reading team who reported back at the end of January on the ‘health’ of our church communities. The reports for the three churches have been reviewed by the steering team and summary reports have been produced for our congregations to read. The reports do not give us any answers but have collated the responses to the questions, creating many more questions to help us consider what your answers are telling us:

We also completed timelines for each of our churches in which a really good crowd of people gave us their remembered histories, good and bad and their hopes for the future. These have been compiled and there is a neat version on the wall and handouts at the back of the three churches. Summary reports of the timeline comments have been produced:

We have also compiled a database answering questions about our communities, our congregations, our finances, our building use and generally assessing more widely the assets and problems that all form part of the wider church life:

The information that we have been given by our congregations is a fantastic tool to start a real exploration not by slashing our way through the jungle but by gradual and considered stages. We need to study the reading team reports, the databases and the timelines further and feel our way to find where God is working in our communities and where and how we can extend His work. We need to listen to what you have been saying and digest it. We will also start to explore how the wider community views our churches and our Christian community.

The PMC ‘What’s God up to here?’ event was held at St John’s church on 30th April 2016. About 50 people attended and after a convivial start with refreshments engaged in bible study and then listened to presentations compiled from the listening interviews and community data.

In small groups two questions were considered, firstly ‘What might God be calling our church to be and to do in God’s mission in our parish?’ and secondly ‘What’s God up to here?’ What surprised many people was the depth and breadth of the discussions and the ideas that developed which were energising and uplifting and a good basis for the future. Read more about the event