Do you remember that this was supposed to be the Diocesan Year of MORE OPEN in which the Bishop encouraged us with this vision:
‘We have a vision for congregations, with age and other profiles, reflecting the communities they serve. We want to see the church as a family of all ages, loving and serving, contributing and receiving, being transformed and growing together in ways that appropriately reflect the importance of each context and place – a sign of being one.’
During this time of pandemic and lockdown that may now seem rather ironic. However, actually many of us are coming to realise that, whilst the buildings are closed and services and gatherings prohibited, we are more open than we’ve ever been!
There’s so much going on that wasn’t happening before. Weekly our online services can be viewed by over 500 people. ‘Helping Hands’ has reached out into the wider community and ‘Prayer Phone Friends’ are on hand to offer prayerful support to any who ask. Zoom meetings are now a regular feature of all our lives and that’s also the case for those who have responsibilities in church life – in fact we meet more often than before – and they’re often better meetings!?!
However, one thing we know we miss is being able to meet together in smaller groups, sharing our journeys of faith and growing in fellowship as we grow together.
So, to meet that need, we are inviting you to join in smaller fellowship gatherings which we are calling HARBOUR GROUPS.
Eric Eyre has long experience of the value of small groups for flourishing churches and sets out the vision we have to be a more connected church family:
How important it is during this time of lockdown to feel connected, many of us are finding value in communicating virtually, not only within the family and socially but as a Church community. Through Harbour Groups we are seeking to be creative in our contact with each other.
We’re inviting people to join a network of small groups where for a short time a reading with a thought and a time of prayer can be shared. There will be coordinators that will help facilitate it. But most importantly it’s a time simply to be together in growing friendship and support.
Did you know that the word connection is derived from the Latin word connexion? It means ‘to bind together’ expressing the thought of different strands being woven together into one purposeful structure giving mutual support.
Fellowship, praying together, supporting each other is vital to the fullness of our life together. Our central coordinator, Anthony Goddard will give you information to help you find an online group which you can feel a part of and for us all to be an encouragement to each other.
Anchored in Him – Eric.
Well, now it’s your turn to RSVP. Do contact Anthony by email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest, to ask questions or simply to say an affirming ‘yes’ to another opportunity to be more open.
‘And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.’ Col. 13.14