Church of Bedford, St Peter de Merton
« Mission Action Plan »
The previous MAP has borne no relation to the changes that have taken place over the last three years.. in 2016 the previous Rector retired and in February 2017 Revd Woolmer was appointed to the joint post of Rector Incumbent and Town Centre Missioner.
The electoral role showed some 141 members, however this had not been updated or reviewed in many years. When it was reviewed it was found that some 30+ had died and an equal number had , due to old age moved to different parts of the country to be near their children and families for support and care. The new electoral role now bears a more realistic number of members.
Several people also left the church in the first year of the new incumbents tenure, as they did not wish to be engaged in Reaching New People of exploring Fresh Expressions of church worship. We therefore have to focus on change.
1) The priority for children’s work: Other than families attending for All Age Service on 1st Sunday in the month, no families attend the church and previously before 2017 no apparent action was taken to encourage families at attend at other times.
2) Due to an ageing congregation, the church hasn’t been able to continue to be open during the day for visitors in the week as everyone is too old to supervise the church being open in the week.
3)The Nurturing of disciples was not the priority stated in the previous MAP unless these new disciples conformed to the manner of worship which was much favoured by a small group of influential congregation members. This group has now left.
4)The open porch principle to allow street sleepers and addicts who had now where else to go was stopped upon the arrival of the new incumbent. He discerned that the congregation were cleaning up human faeces and drug and alcohol paraphernalia left by these people who were merely using the church yard and porched areas as places of concealment to continue their addiction, so the church had to be closed during the day and church yard locked to exclude them.
There is now a Mission Team, which has come into being in the last 18 months. It consists of the Rector, an Associate Retired Vicar, Curate, Lay Reader, Lay Reader in Training, Authorised Lay Leader of Worship, and assistant leaders of worship, new people now lead intercessions and a cluster of new people have joined the PCC this year after the previously over influential group has left.
in August 2019 new media facilities will be installed in church, Wi-fi, new large TV screens and new sound and PA system. The remaining congregation are behind this new instillation as they understand that this church needs to provide a ‘unique selling point’ and be different to the other Anglican churches in the town centre to attract and Reach New People.
it would be wrong and counter productive to project too many new ideas at this time , so we aim to concentrate on the introduction of different styles of worship using the new media to encourage new people in.
At this time we have had a larger number of baptisms but have not been able to hang on to the families as we can’t offer anything much to excite them to stay. We pray that the new facilities will project a more modern 21st style of church which will enable us to get the message across and they might stay.
The core value is to be a church reliant on GOD. we understand that we can achieve nothing unless GOD is with us
we have a number of new intercessors who have a powerful message in their prayers which a number of congregation respond to.
The Mission Team are all on board to preach more on outreach and are Trinity centred on our reliance on God.
The biggest change in the last 18,months has been that the congregation has and is being taught and encouraged to share their faith with others. A personal spiritual growth in each is more apparent, and this is then reflected in how they welcome new people coming into church for the occasional offices such as baptism.
Preaching and teaching the congregation that they are ppart of the mission in THEIR church and therefore also responsible for growth.
Establishing new forms of worship to REACH NEW PEOPLE!
Engaging new ideas from the PCC members on how to ‘sell ourselves’ to the community and welcome them into GODS church.
1) instillation of new media equipment
2) Integration and use of this equipment to create fresh expressions of worship
3) focus on the Trinity of God in preaching and teaching and prayer
By teaching the congregation that they can rely on God’s love, then they can be part of the mission to make new disciples, because frankly if they don’t then this church will die as there will be no new congregation to replace them.