VISION DAY Sunday 3rd September
What a great day we had!
We began with our Communion Service, setting the whole day in the context of God’s love and grace towards us. For our prayers of Thanksgiving, we were invited to write on sticky notes the things we were thankful for; we did the same for our prayers of Intercession. The sheets of notes then fed into our later discussions.
Over coffee, we looked round the Reception area, asking ourselves: what would our noticeboards say about the church to someone new coming into the building? Centre users often spend time in Reception, waiting for classes or during breaks; what impression might they get?
For lunch, we moved to the Johnston Lounge, where we feasted on the wonderful food that people had brought. We stayed sitting round the tables to continue our discussions, asking questions like: How do we make people welcome in church? How do we support our own faith and discipleship? Who is our community, and how can we serve them?
At 2.30 we stopped for a welcome tea break, and we ended the day just before 3.30 with more prayer and the Grace.
Many thanks to everyone who came to all or part of the day.
Revd Sue McCoan
For those of you who were not able to be there, and as a reminder for those who were, here are some of the key points.
Revamp the noticeboards in the porch and Reception, with fresh posters and more information about the church, including service times. The book for prayers is rarely used, so we will try prayer cards for people to fill in and leave – with a note explaining how they will be used and when they will be destroyed. Peter will produce a leaflet about the church, to be available in the porch area. We will make ‘Welcome Packs’ containing this leaflet, the booklet about the URC, and a card for leaving contact details.
We also considered making a video for the church website about what we believe and how it shapes what we do.
A welcoming church
Make the entrance to the sanctuary a ‘welcome corner’. Move the foodbank collection point to the left of the door so it’s not the first thing seen. Consider moving some of the stacked chairs on the right.
Have ‘welcome bags’ for children that they can pick up as they come in.
Worship leaders to include, before final hymn, saying ‘please do stay if you can’.
Worship and faith
Reintroduce a rota for welcomers and for readers.
Start a new bible study group, running for fixed periods.
Church and Church Centre
The Church Centre users are our ‘community’ – some here full time, some only for one class a week. Centre users are already invited to the Centre Annual Meeting; we will also invite them, through Maureen, to our Carol Service and other special events. We will also look to strengthen our links with the Ga-Dangme Fellowship and with the Presby church who meet in our sanctuary on Sundays at 1pm.
Our Mission Statement
We updated the Mission Statement from the 2014 Church Life Review to read:
‘At St Andrew’s URC, Ealing we worship God witnessed through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We strive to be a prayerful, questioning and faithful community of believers and, through that faith, welcoming all and helping to make a positive impact on the local community and the wider world’.
See also the statement on the St Andrew’s website under ABOUT Us: Who we are.
We set ourselves the task of looking for one new project that we could run with and/or for the community. We noted examples from other local churches to give us ideas.