Our first MAP Meeting was held in the Church Centre on Saturday 14th October, 2017. The meeting was attended by members of the PCC and congregation as well as some members of our local community. After gathering in the Church Centre beforehand for a light lunch and a chat, the meeting itself got underway; it went very well, with helpful discussion and many good suggestions of things St. Cross can do to improve Church Life and Community Connection in the future. Fr. Chris has written a summary of the meeting which you can read below- feel free to get in touch with Fr. Chris if there is anything you would like to talk about or can offer help with using the details on our Contact Page!
Thank you very much to all those who attended!! We hope even more of you will be able to come to our next meeting so keep an eye out on our website, Facebook and newsletters for details!
A church that is willing to change and adapt.
A write-up of discussions which were held at our first MAP meeting on Saturday Oct 14th 2017 from Fr. Chris.
What opportunities are there for us to sit down and to talk about our church life and how things are going?
It was agreed that outside of the formal committee structure of the PCC and AGM there is scant opportunity for talking about church life which means that key voices from within the congregation and the local community are not always heard. Opportunities for discussion involving and including the whole congregation as well as members from the local community were felt to be missing but much needed. Today’s meeting was therefore seen to be a very positive development and something which it was hoped would build and strengthen relationships within the congregation. It was suggested that more members of the congregation could be encouraged to stay for refreshment and that key issues for discussion could be offered during notices as a way of giving informal social time a greater sense of purpose.
Which changes can we celebrate? Where has change has been good in our church?
It was agreed that there had been many positive changes both to the makeup of the church and to the worship and outreach of the church. It was felt that the church had become more ethnically diverse and seemed to be attracting more younger families. The development of a fortnightly Sunday School, Child-friendlier Fairs (Children's Characters in Fancy-dress), the Foodbank, the Shelter, the Gospel procession, the inclusion of a livelier recessional hymn were also all cited as positive changes. Furthermore, it was felt that the ethos of the congregation to be more inclusive and participative was beginning to emerge, partly aided by the greater involvement of laity in worship. However, it was felt that there was still much work to be done in this area. Again, the point was raised that a challenge for us as a church is to find better ways of facilitating power-sharing so that diverse members of the church participate fully in the development of the church’s life. It was also suggested that Key Person interviews must target younger families to find out what is attracting them to St Cross Church.
Do we find it hard to change? How can we support one another through change? Could anyone describe our church as “a cosy club”?
It was acknowledged that some members find change difficult and disruptive, particularly if it’s sudden or unforeseen. It was acknowledged that nobody wants to offend or upset anyone else in the church and that often change is avoided to avoid potential upset or conflict. It was suggested that a resistance to change is also often fueled by a fear of the unknown and an attachment to the past and memories. It was mooted that one of the ways to enable all members of the church to embrace change positively would be to create an area within the church where photos could be displayed to create living museum in celebration of the past. The importance of consultation and thinking time was also underlined as necessary before any changes could be implemented.
Which areas of our church’s life might be more effective if we did something differently? For example, service times, style and regular activities?
Again, the need to be intentional and strategic about bringing more people into the life of the church was highlighted. In addition to this, many suggestions were made as to the sorts of things we might consider ‘trying’. These include:
A monthly family service which exemplifies 'good' all-age worship with an emphasis on bringing the whole family of God together as an inclusive community;
An afternoon service;
Time and space during Sunday Worship for silence, private prayers, reflection, extemporaneous prayer – all of which is guided by the Minister
A special annual service for those baptized that year
The setting up of a Pastoral Visitors’ Team
The reintroduction of a Communion Hymn
A suggestion box for hymns
The inclusion of instruments and a choir
An International Lunch
Could we consider making any changes (small or larger) to our building to make it more welcoming or more fit for our ministry and mission? Please add your own questions to this list.
It was acknowledged that there were one or two simple changes we could make to the church building to make it easier for a disabled person to make better use of the building. For example, a ramp to the Lady Chapel could be provided and Disabled Toilet Access should be reconsidered. It was also suggested that John Gilchrest could make some ‘counter’ style tops which would go across the Centre Aisle and thus create opportunities for more stalls at the Summer and Christmas Fairs. It was suggested that urgent consideration should also be given to the South Path which in its current state is hazardous.
Think of some ideas which might involve change or being more open to change in your church. Discuss your ideas with others. Choose one to take forward. Although nothing specific was agreed upon, it was agreed that the priority at this stage must be to find ways of increasing the involvement of everyone in the life and worship of the church and to build relationship within and between members of the congregation. This should be intentional and strategic and must be the priority for further discussion as part of the MAP process.
YOU ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND OUR NEXT MAP MEETING, DETAILS OF WHICH WILL BE FORTHCOMING. Please keep an eye out on the website, Facebook Page and email newsletter.