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2020 Vision

by Michael Ford last modified 16 Oct, 2020 05:50 PM

Changing times require fresh vision and a sense of hope for what can be achieved, and a number of our parishes, benefices and deaneries are updating their plans for transforming communities and making a real difference.

2020 Vision

Original photo courtesy

As the current situation has developed, and information has been shared at county and local level, the needs are coming into sharper focus and this is a spur to being Christian 'salt and light' in the world.

All 5 Anglican churches in Weymouth held their much-delayed annual parochial church meeting (APCM) on Monday night, 12th October to lay out a vision to help the community in the coming year.

Speakers representing all 5 congregations focused on identifying and dealing with the specific problems of each district during the meeting in St Aldhelm’s Radipole, streamed live via YouTube and Zoom and jointly presided over by Team Rector Revd Nick Clarke and Town Centre Chaplain Neil Biles.

Newly-appointed Lay Pastoral Assistants (LPAs) will work in small street teams in designated districts, knocking on doors to identify the specific needs of those struggling to cope, including those under stress, the lonely, the sick, and needy families.

The action plan reflects different needs and the demographics of Weymouth. Vicar Jo Haine explained that Emmanuel in Southill was aiming to achieve a younger congregational profile with worship-based programmes that would be “deeper and wider” and relevant to younger people today.

Her other church, St Mary’s in the heart of the town that poses different challenges, is promoting an outreach programme guided by Neil Biles focusing on 4 distinct categories – the struggling business community, an ageing residential population, those working in and out of the harbour and the transient population (beach) – with the church promoting an “open door” for all through opportunities for prayer on Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes, and Sunday morning worship.

Revd Tom Coopey at St John’s – also seeking younger members – briefed the meeting on the well-advanced redevelopment work at the former vicarage being converted to become “Hope House”, a vibrant walk-in youth centre for the entire town.

St Aldhelm’s Radipole, the responsibility of Nick Clarke, is also seeking to promote a younger profile, including the appointment of Families and Children’s Worker Laura Lark, whose activities include 'Story Time', bringing the excitement of the Bible story to the very young on YouTube at 10.00am each weekday morning.

Weymouth church publicist Geoffrey Murray said:

"This supplements stepped-up activities in the churches keeping the Word of God in the public eye despite all the pandemic restrictions and seeking to expand congregations in person or virtually.

"We're all very excited at the growing opportunities to witness to God despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Faith flourishes in Weymouth! Praise the Lord."

All the speakers at the APCM emphasised the need for the church to be seen as a vibrant, caring organisation getting to grips with modern problems but still firmly focused on God’s love for all humanity.

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