Some readers may recall mention of a Parish Mission with Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church next year. I wanted to update you on progress and to begin to give you a flavour of the sort of events we are thinking of running, both during and before the Mission.
In February, I wrote a little about having a Parish Mission, and I said, “A Parish Mission involves holding a series of events and activities with the aim of drawing new people to the life of faith and encouraging those who perhaps have drifted a bit in their Christianity to re-engage or go deeper.” Since, then our Planning Group has met three or four times and has managed to firm this initial idea into a more specific vision, namely this:
Working alongside our Roman Catholic friends, FaithWorks 18 will be a ‘season of mission’ which aims to:
- launch a renewed commitment to St Mary’s presence and activity in Battersea for the common good in the name of Jesus Christ; and
- give a chance for members of St Mary’s to bring friends/guests to a variety of enjoyable events that will offer gentle opportunities to consider the life of faith in Jesus Christ.
Since then we have made progress in shaping the outline plan. Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church are having their own Parish Mission to coincide with their 125th Anniversary in mid-October and we shall join them in special services that week, culminating in a special service on 14th October to mark their anniversary. Our own Planning Group has decided that, rather than run even more events at the same time, we would seek to plan a series of events across the autumn of 2018. So far, a number of events have begun to emerge as possible. These include: A half-term holiday club for local children; a mini-arts festival weekend, possibly combining with a community activity showcasing event; a ‘Hymns & Pimms’ evening with a chance to do some charitable fundraising; a Christian ‘Question Time’ with well-known panellists from the world of sport, politics, the media; a pilgrimage outing/coach trip to a special Christian site; and a special event marking the Centenary of the Armistice on 11th November 2018. People from the Planning Group are currently indicating which of these events they would like to organise, but if you might be interested in joining them in the work of preparation and planning, please let me know and I will put you in touch.
FaithWorks 18 will be the major event of 2018 and, because it will be a new kind of venture for St Mary’s (at least in recent years) we will need to spend time getting ready for it, including spending time with our Catholic neighbours. Fr. Gerry and I are therefore planning a series of events across the period from Advent 2017 until the summer of 2018 to prepare for the Mission. These will include social events, time for prayer and study, Lent Groups and worship times. There is also likely to be a Church Family Awayday after Easter next year, when our church family of all ages can spend a day together enjoying one another’s company, having some fun, and having some thoughtful spiritual input.
FaithWorks 18 is a major venture for our church that I hope will excite and inspire all of us, not just to deepen our commitment to our faith, but to take what may be a first step in inviting others to think about what faith in Christ means. There will be no standing on street corners or door-knocking, but a chance to invite others to take a first step towards or into faith.
Please pray for FaithWorks 18, for the Planning Group, and for myself and Fr. Gerry as we plan over the coming months.