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January 2016 – St Mary’s Great Chart & Singleton
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January 2016

Another new year with new starts and new possibilities. As a church we have been considering our purpose, mission and priorities over the last year or so and have just completed a short sermon series considering what we are here for.

Our new ‘strap line’ that we will begin to use on our notice sheets, letterheads and on as many of our publications as possible is
‘Enabling everyone to encounter Jesus and follow Him’
Reminding us that we are a church for all – those who are active members that this would continue and develop more for them, for those who attend sometimes that they would be drawn closer to Jesus, for those who encounter the church through school or attending services or through a baptism, wedding or funeral that they would want to know more and even for those who have no interest in the church that as they have some experience of it they too would encounter Jesus.

A church also has 3 aspects. Firstly it focuses upwards in worship to God. Secondly focussing inwards to support and encourage and challenge its members in their faith and witness to others which when done well is very attractive to draw others in also. And thirdly focusing outwards to reach into and serve the community and equipping it’s members in their individual and shared opportunities to people they meet in their daily lives – family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues and contacts.

We have also been considering our priorities. There are so many things a church wants to do and is called upon to do, but we cannot do everything so for now our priorities are:
1. Encouraging, enabling and challenging one another in our gifts
2. Reaching out to and welcoming in children and young people
3. Seeking to serve older people in our community.

These are not just what we aspire to but also what we recognise are our strengths. The church is served and led by a huge variety of people who also take their Christian faith seriously as they relate to others around them. Many are involved in our schools, Playgroup, toddlers, nurseries and youth clubs as well as assisting with our Sunday and midweek provision for children and young people. And pastoral care and visiting amongst the elderly in their homes as well as nursing homes and sheltered housing is carried out by many people.

This is also why we started the Grapevine Community Cafe in Singleton New Village Hall which will have been open for a year in March! Many volunteers from church run this and have grown in confidence as the year has progressed. A large number of young families come to enjoy not just great food and drink but also to meet up with a safe place for children to play. And rather than sit at home often alone a number of older folk come in for their morning coffee and cake – and company!

Churches can be very busy places often seeming just to be trying to keep themselves going. We want to be a church with clear purpose and priorities.

We want to ‘enable everyone to encounter Jesus and follow Him’ – up in our worship, in in our support of each other and out in our service to our community. For now – but maybe not for always – especially to the young, the elderly and in encouraging each other in using our gifts.

I pray and hope that you too would encounter Jesus afresh this year and want more and more to follow Him.

Rev Timothy Wilson

Great Chart Rectory


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