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NWCs are Growing

by Michael Ford last modified 27 Feb, 2019 01:47 PM

89 New Worshipping Communities (NWCs) in our Diocese are not just surviving, they are growing as they consolidate their work.

The Archdeacon of Sarum, Alan Jeans has told Synod members that a 2018 survey of M4M (Ministry for Mission) initiatives showed that Messy Church was still one of the most successful means of outreach to families.

Read his report here

The Ven Alan Jeans said that the comprehensive national support for Messy Church, along with our own Diocesan HUBS were part of the success offering material and advice to those setting up and running these.

But he said it wasn’t all good news:
“Currently there are 24 active Messy Churches in the diocese. These are predominantly run by lay people and are challenging on those who run them, as most meet monthly and require significant resourcing.

“As a consequence, two have closed, however two new ones have started over the last two years. Funding is an issue as not all local churches fund them and there is an expectation that they ‘stand alone’. A common concern has been raised about whether the numbers are or should be included in annual returns."

The M4M survey had also shown that gatherings that incorporate food and worship have been successful in reaching communities and are equally popular in rural and more built up areas, as a means of engaging with the local community.

The Archdeacon noted:
“There are two Tea Time Churches and eight Café Churches. There are 13 Breakfast Churches active in the diocese but we believe there are more that have not been recorded in this research. The Breakfast HUB is proving very popular particularly for those considering starting Breakfast Church in their area, as they can turn to those attending for help and support.”

He also spoke about how New Housing areas have given significant opportunities for mission and the creating of NMC’s.
“When the diocese supports them by appointing clergy and lay people as pioneers, then new initiatives have grown. Kingfisher Church is a good example of this longer term, as is the work in Gillingham, Melksham, Old Sarum, Poole, Warminster and others. Housing such as at St Peter’s Place in Salisbury is establishing a Community Hub, in the new Church Academy.”

He added that exploration into new forms of worship have also drawn people together creating new styles of worship using reflection and prayer ‘space’.
“Examples such as the School Eucharistic Community at Woodford Valley Academy, Soul Space, and Community of the Annunciation, alongside Still Waters, Revive and Celtic Worship all which have worship and reflection as the focus of the gathering.”

He said that it was still the case that “we are looking at areas of need in rural areas and the new Rural Field Officers are going to be crucial in developing new initiatives.
“M4M intends to create courses in 2019 which will help churches both rural and town based to grow New Worshipping Communities and equip both clergy and lay people with tools to assist in this. The HUBS continue to be an asset and will be supported by the M4M Resource Officer.”

The Archdeacon also said that one of our greatest opportunities is the fantastic church schools across the Diocese.
“I’ve always thought of them not as Church Schools, but as School Churches – each with a distinctive congregations of students, teachers, governors and parents. Why do congregations in a vacancy ask for someone who will bring children into church, when children ought to have an experience of church five days a week? Perhaps if we were to join the children in school, they might teach us a thing or two about church?”

Read the Archdeacon's full report here

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