Magazine leader - September 2014

Letter from Nigel

It is a joy to be part of the church family at St.John’s Broadstone. For so much of my ministry I have been caught up in the life of the church at both diocesan and national level. It needs to be so, for vicars are not just there to be part of the local church, but also need to play their part in the wider scheme of things. There is more to the church than just the parish and those we train to be vicars will also have to serve beyond the boundaries of their own parishes. What I am enjoying now is having been able to give up almost every outside commitment so that I can immerse myself one hundred percent in the life of the church in this place. Last autumn we had a day to look at our vision and our priorities for the future. We need to have another such day before too long, but we are still seeking to unpack what came out of our last day. On the one hand we valued our shared life of worship together and that is something that must be sustained and enjoyed. We need to treasure the wells of spirituality that sustain us. On the other hand we wanted to make working with young people and their families a priority and it is this part of the vision which is shaping our new ideas. ‘We’, in this context, does not mean ‘them’ who run St.John’s, but ‘we’ the whole family of people who make up our congregation. How we care for one another and pass on our faith is a responsibility we all share.

We are trying out a new pattern of services. The 8am and 10am services will remain much the same, although the monthly Family Service will now be in the middle of the month, often, but not always, on the Sunday after Messy Church. In fact the next Family Service will be on Sunday 14th September and the theme will be ‘The Cross of Jesus’. On the first Sunday of each month there will be an additional service, which will be our new café-style Breakfast Church. This will take place in the church hall and it will start at 9.00am, lasting for no more than 40 minutes. Breakfast will be included, as well as a time of singing, prayer and the presentation of a gospel story. Although this will be especially suitable for young people, our Breakfast Church is designed for people of all ages. Our first Breakfast Church will be on Sunday 5th October and the theme will be ‘Harvest’.

Our commitment to open up our worshipping life to more young people and their families will need the support and commitment of us all. We will need help with Breakfast Church, not least in cooking and welcoming. We must also address the question of how we make it easy for families with children to come to our main 10.00am services. For some years we were fortunate in the dedicated ministry of Ronalyn, Sarah and Steve, in running our Sunday School, but they have had to move on. So we need to make new arrangements for what we do on Sundays. Linda and I will sort out materials for use by the children on Sundays, but we will need a rota of people from the congregation to go out with the children for part of the service. I will be putting to the PCC in September that we consider doing up the old choir vestry and having activities for children there during the sermon and intercessions. So we need help for the Sundays when there is no Breakfast Church or Family Worship.

In all of this there is one particular driving question, which is how welcoming we can be as a congregation. The point at which we welcome new Christians into the Church is called baptism. Baptism is not something the Vicar does whist everyone else is enjoying their Sunday lunch! Baptism is a responsibility we share and it is as much about the warmth of our welcome to baptism families as the rite itself. It would really help to have more of the congregation on duty for 12 noon baptisms. If enough people can volunteer, the ministry can be shared out on a rota basis. Please speak to Gwen if you can help. What makes this a driving question is when we consider to what we can invite baptismal families after the baptism. At the baptism we say, ‘We welcome you into the fellowship of faith; we are children of the same heavenly Father; we welcome you.’ If we mean that welcome, then it is important that we develop such things as Breakfast Church, as well as providing for children and their families on other Sundays. Developing these ministries is well within our capabilities and, if we will take the risk of embracing these new things, we will find a new sense of blessing within the fellowship of our church.

Nigel LLoyd

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