Twenty per-cent of parishes growing
Although the latest Church of England statistics show a 1% a year decrease in church attendance over the last decade, David Nye, Chair of the DBF, struck a note of encouragement on our journey to reverse this when he told October’s Diocesan Synod: “Let’s praise the Lord because in over 20% of our parishes, church membership has increased and their congregations are growing. That’s surely a cause for celebration.”
“I asked our bishops for examples showing what difference our strategy was having. I am afraid there are just too many to read out.”
He then proceeded to pick out a few examples: “At Henlow and Langford, the Open the Book Assembly Programme is thriving and lay volunteers are reaching hundreds of children through simple dramatised retellings of Bible stories. Barnet Churches Action, with significant Anglican input, has just opened Hope Corner Community Centre which provides catering for many local needs. Woburn is seeing significant growth in the number of young people attending church. Flitwick has seen increase of membership of over 60% in the last twelve months following the arrival of a new Vicar and a stewardship programme saw an increase in giving of over 40%. A new hub church has been planted in Hitchin (illustrated above). With the help of the church, a new Credit Union branch has been opened in Dunstable.”
Director of Mission Tim Lomax said: “We are hearing many good news stories of mission and growth from across the diocese. Through the Spirit’s work in each place, hope in the transforming purposes of God is increasing and confidence in communicating the gospel of Christ is strengthening. There are now 180 fresh expressions of church or new congregations with potential to mature by nurturing new disciples of Christ. Around two thirds of the people engaging with these new forms of church were previously unconnected to church.”
ASCEND celebrates 20 years of Service to South Oxhey
Community Charity ASCEND were joined by Bishop Alan at their 20th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service in October at which the South Oxhey Choir also made an appearance.
Other celebratory events coming up include a concert by Face2Face on Saturday, 12th November, along with ASCEND Christmas Cracker Saturday, 19th November, 10.30am–1pm, with Christmas festivities and refreshments at Step Up, 39 Oxhey Drive, WD19 7SD. Full details from: www.ascend.org.uk