The Church Council had a first conversation last month about the possibility of holding a Parish Mission in 2018, jointly with Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church. Sacred Heart are holding their own Parish Mission in October 2018, to mark the 150th anniversary of the Salesian Community’s presence in Battersea and have invited St Mary’s to join with them in making it something of a joint venture. The PCC has enthusiastically agreed.
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. Rather than simply holding a series of services, a Parish Mission would involve a series of wider activities, for example Question Time, meals in restaurants with an after-dinner speaker, musical events and home meetings, in which we share something of our faith with friends in a way neither they (or hopefully we!) would find embarrassing or cringe-worthy. Don’t worry: no one will be asked to knock on doors or stand on street corners with a megaphone!
Very excitingly, we have already approached the Archbishop of Canterbury to ask if he would come and speak at an event and he has agreed (subject to the diary in October next year). Sacred Heart are bringing a Salesian priest over from the United States to lead their parts of the Mission too. We will invite our own guests as well.
At this stage, Simon has given the Mission the working title of FaithWorks 18. There are two meanings to this title: first, it implies that faith is a useful and meaningful thing to have in 21st Century London; second, it picks up the idea (very important at St Mary’s) that reaching out to our community in practical ways (good works) is a vital aspect of our expression of God’s love in Christ.
Planning a mission is a big event. If you are interested in finding out more and perhaps joining a small planning group, please contact Simon very soon. He would particularly welcome interest from those who are relatively new to St Mary’s, members of minority ethnic communities and men, as he will also be asking a couple of PCC members to join the group.