With what degree of confidence would you say to someone who has never been to your church…
Come to church with me; it’s amazing. You’ll love it.”
As Rector, and on behalf of the Leadership Team and our PCC, I invite all congregations to embrace Bishop Martin’s charge and go for growth – read on… We hope you’ll love it!
Renewing our life in renewing our worship…
We are richly blessed as a church family serving three villages. Much has taken place in recent years that gives real encouragement and we are thankful.
Bishop Martin recognises this and now is charging us to embrace new opportunities to grow – numerically and spiritually. Key to this is an experience of joyful, confident Sunday morning worship which is full of hope in the “happy news” of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Bishop Martin sums up his challenge like this:
With what degree of confidence would we always, and spontaneously say to someone who has never been to church,
“Come to church with me; it’s amazing. You’ll love it.”.
After prayerful discussion, supported by research analysis, the PCCs have recognised that there are ways in which we can renew the experience of Sunday worship. Building on all the many positive elements and concentrating our resources to encourage growth, we believe that Harbour Churches will be confident in giving this joyful invitation to family, friends, neighbours and beyond…
“Come to church. You’ll love it”.
Nothing can grow if it doesn’t change, and it’s been amazing to see how changes to the way we worship at some services has resulted in real growth. Building on this, things will change as we go for growth and renew our life together.
What will renewal look like?
Firstly, we are going to re-craft worship so that it is experienced as engaging, resonant as well as relevant, contemporary yet sensitive to our context and traditions. Secondly, we want to ensure that the pattern of our worship means we can make the very best of who we are – fully supported and equipped – and offer an experience of transformative worship which meets not only our needs, but the needs of each generation and our communities in 2019 and beyond.
What about my parish church?
Each of our three village churches is special in its own way. The uniqueness of your village church is what makes ‘Harbour Churches’ potentially so special. As we grow in being three churches with one mission to bless our community, we hope that you may discover spiritual growth worshipping at times in all three churches.
St Nicholas has led the way through the impact ‘Little Nicks’ has had in offering worship sensitive to children’s spiritual needs. It’s been so successful that we’re going to adopt the ‘Littles’ service in each church. Part of what makes St Nicholas’s special is that it’s a small and intimate church. We want to treasure this and ensure that the church family can offer the very best experience of worship. However, this will mean concentrating our gifts and talents at two main Sunday morning services – the 2nd and 4th Sunday, whilst still offering the timeless spirituality of the 8am Prayer Book service on the other two Sundays – and ‘Little Nicks’ + bacon butties on the first Sunday!
St James is known to be such a welcoming church with the largest congregation. So, we can be excited by the potential of St James for renewal and growth. The pattern of worship at St James will stay broadly the same as we grow to offer worship that is transformative and attractive to the wider community. The new St James Centre offers so many new opportunities for worship. As part of ‘Harbour Churches’, St James will host a service of ‘Wholeness and Healing’ every 2nd Sunday evening, as well as an experience of meditative ‘Centering Prayer’ on the 4th Sunday. Both of these services will offer the very best of contemporary, contemplative worship. And yes, they’ll be a ‘Little Jimmies’ + bacon butties every 3rd Sunday!
St Peter and St Paul have been at worship the longest – since the 8th century! Recently they have seen significant growth on the first Sunday – over 25%, and the place is buzzing – as are people of all ages. The impact of skilfully crafted and delivered worship shows what can happen if we get renewal right. We want this experience of transformative worship to spread out across all three churches. To accommodate a wider range of worship for Harbour Churches, ‘Evensong’ will be offered on 1st and 3rd Sunday and for consistency the 4th Sunday will be at 10am and as a contemporary service. And, yes, wait for it… ‘Little Witterings’ + bacon butties will happen on the 2nd Sunday, replacing the existing children’s service.
Looking ahead, we will offer a monthly children’s ‘Big Breakfast’ Sunday club at St James and St PnP, with a ‘Messy Church’ at St James every other month. Each church will also have activity ‘Prayer Spaces’ available every Sunday from June.
Pause… that’s a lot to take in. How does it make you feel? Take a moment to reflect and then offer to God what’s on your mind and in your heart….
The pattern of worship….
|1st Sunday||9.30am Contemporary HC with ‘Big Breakfast’ tbc
4pm ‘Messy Church’ tbc
|8am BCP HC
9am ‘Little Nicks’
|8am BCP HC
10am Contemporary HC all-age
6pm Benefice Choral Evensong
|2nd Sunday||9.30am Contemporary HC
6pm Wholeness & Healing Service
|11am Contemporary HC||8am BCP HC
9am ‘Little Witterings’
10am Contemporary HC
|3rd Sunday||9am ‘Little Jimmies’
9.30am Contemporary HC
|8am BCP HC||8am BCP HC
10am Contemporary HC
|4th Sunday||8am BCP HC
9.30am Contemporary all-age
6pm Centering Prayer
|11am Contemporary HC||8am BCP HC
10am Contemporary HC with ‘Big Breakfast’ tbc
This is a really exciting phase in the life of Harbour Churches and on the 5th Sunday of each month we will invite all congregations to join together for worship as we do at the Redlands Service. So, we prayerfully commit to renewal from Sunday 2nd June as we celebrate Ascensiontide and the Spirit’s gifting at Pentecost.
We also want to give opportunities to find out more about this renewal. There will be two open evenings on Friday 10th & 17th May 6-7pm in the St James Centre.
In all this we remain so grateful for all those who lead our worship – the ministry team, our musicians and all the volunteers who welcome, read, pray and make it possible to worship Sunday by Sunday in each village church.
We’ll be supporting this renewal with a range of Equipping Mornings and hope to see existing volunteers and encourage new faces at all these events:
‘Renewing Intercessions’ : Saturday 18th May 9.30am – 11.30am @ SJC
‘Renewing Welcome’ : Saturday 25th May 9.30am – 11.30am @ SJC
‘Renewing God’s Word’ : Saturday 1st June 9.30am – 11.30am @ SJC