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Moving Forwards

...is actually the title of the bespoke song book in use at Faringdon. Following up on conversations had after worship and over mail, there is a real desire to want to move forwards and rediscover a vision for a church that owns its own future. A familiar story of too many offices to fill with too few people, numerical decline and the strain of just keeping on keeping on. Moving forwards seems increasingly to be a struggle and not the life enhancing thing church is meant to be for those at the sharp end.

On Sunday 16 July we are going to have an extended worship 10:00-12:00 in an informal Café style approach at which we'll begin a conversation. Exciting stuff!

So we met and shared worship and then had some scene setting.

You can listen to this here and download the supporting slides here

Next week the fellowship are going to take the ideas a stage further and develop / implement some of the action points but in summary:

  • -The church building is already used by a variety of groups
  • -What is needed is to build up a sense of shared community among all the users (including those worshiping on Sunday)
  • -Opportunities for extended social time can be provided to groups
  • -Information about other groups can be shared to maximise the community benefit
  • -New times where all "users" can gather together to discuss improvements and develop a way forward can be scheduled
  • -The church (people not building) can offer prayer support to all who come into the building out of love
  • -The way worship is done will be influenced by an increased understanding of the needs of those who already use the building

UPDATE on that second session from the fellowship there:

On Sunday 23rd July we had an informal discussion over coffee sitting in groups of our choosing to discuss further the points raised in our discussion with Andrew about moving the mission of the church forwards and engaging more with our local community. We started the morning with an intro recapping our discussion from last week with Andrew so that those who hadn't been able to come the previous week had some idea of what we were doing. Some ideas where already on the tables with pens and paper for people to work on, our they were able to explore other ideas they had thought of since last week. To help us focus on our discussions we then had a few worship songs, prayer and a reading which seemed apt from our discussion last week of non church people not understanding the language of church that we have all been brought up with. The reading was from the Message bible titled Prayer language. Ch14 v1-33, 37-40.

1) Leaflets to explain all the things that go on here including all the other groups. There will be people who are new to Faringdon and don't know anything about the churches.
2) We wondered if there couldn't be something that goes on here EVERY WEEK (open for coffee at a set time maybe). We should advertise the coffee mornings we do have more widely including the Internet, social media.
3) Outreach for people with physical or Mental Health Difficulties. Outreach to Estates in using music, singing group. Taking music out to Residential Homes.
4) Communication with all those that use or wander into the church building. Our group will design a card and contact the users of the church to invite them to put details of their group on it and then the cards will be displayed on the board in the porch. The central card will be for the church and the others will be linked to this.
5) Prayer box for anyone in the community to use that will be opened before services and led by a prayer group before the service starts
6) Advertising. It was also decided that we need to use local advertising like the Faringdon Whats On magazine, town hall info board, social media etc. to advertise more of the events we do like coffee mornings and special services.

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