We all have dreams and visions…images of the perfect holiday, the ideal home and the model spouse or partner. I’m about to begin to enter the race that is the property market for the first time: dreams and reality no doubt go hand in hand there, I’m sure I’ll discover!!
Churches need to have dreams too. We need vision, priorities and plans. The Church Council has just begun a process called Mission Action Planning, which admittedly sounds a bit dull, but in essence is about asking ourselves what we dream for St Mary’s for the coming five years or so. Between now and Easter, we hope to dream together and to begin to plan to fulfil what might not just be our dreams, but God’s vision for our church too.
To do that we are already building up a picture of our church and our neighbourhood, finding out exactly the nuts and bolts of what makes up St Mary’s and its geographical parish. That’s all well and good. But the most exciting bit will come when we ask you all to share your dreams and visions for St Mary’s, when you tell us what excites you about your church and what you long for us to do both in our life together and in our service and mission in the parish. The Ministry Team and others are putting together a process that will help you to share your vision and dreams so we can discern what it is that it might be right for us to focus on in the years ahead – and perhaps what it might be time to stop doing too. Perhaps we need to do fewer things, but better!
In God’s good timing, some help is also coming from beyond St Mary’s. We’ve been approached by the South East Institute for Theological Education (SEITE), the ordination course which trained Revd. Peter Wintgens, to host a small group of trainee clergy on their Mission Project. It looks like we will have three enthusiastic vicars-in-training to help us for a while!
For now, though, begin asking yourself what you dream for St Mary’s and its future? What sort of church do you want us to become? What sort of things would you like us to do better? What sort of things have past their sell-by date? All of that will be a great help when we invite you to share your dreams and we begin to imagine the future that God has for us.
Dream on, St Mary’s….