Living God's Love Values - Generosity, Joy, Imagination and Courage
Living God's Love Values - Generosity, Joy, Imagination and Courage

Church of Steppingley, St Lawrence
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Details

Church
Steppingley, St Lawrence

Parish
Steppingley

Benefice
Ampthill with Millbrook and Steppingley

Deanery
Ampthill and Shefford

Archdeaconry
Bedford

MAP Dates

This MAP was uploaded to the website on
14th September 2019

Our MAP will be reviewed next
14th September 2021

Progress

What progress are you celebrating since your previous MAP?

Our first key priority in our previous MAP was ‘to work together as a more cohesive team, using and celebrating our different gifts’ and this has improved beyond measure. We are a little church in a small village of c200, however, what we lack in size, we most certainly make up for in enthusiasm! From welcoming visitors to applying for fabric grants, flower arranging to marketing, baking a cake to fundraising, everyone is more than happy to pitch in whatever way they can to care for others and keep the church going. We extend a warm welcome to all to pay us a visit, sign the visitor’s book and take in the architecture, or simply to take some time out for quiet reflection or prayer, for the church is open daily. We are thankful that so much work has recently been carried out on the Church roof. However, this work revealed that a longstanding problem involving the lead guttering to the south side of the nave roof is essentially a project in its own right and although our Architect has obtained a Deacon’s letter and provided a specification, we are now working on obtaining prices and funding. Our aim is to have a secure, watertight roof so that we can proceed to tackle the replastering of those internal wall areas which are at present so unsightly.
Our extensive fundraising efforts have not only led to an improved financial position, but have also been instrumental in strengthening links between the Church and the village. There are no passengers at Steppingley-everyone contributes gladly, reflecting the true spirit of the Christian faith and it is that teamwork that makes it a privilege to be part of St Lawrence’s!

How far did you meet your previous priorities?
(1 star = Not at all → 10 stars = Done)

5 stars

Where has there been less progress than hoped for?

The second priority in our previous MAP was to ‘reach out and draw in those on the periphery by combining Church and village activities, in order to raise the Church profile and make it a vital part of village life’. We have certainly made some headway, as our good news above alludes to. This has also been reflected in our mission statistics, which show a gradual increase in both average weekly attendance & usual Sunday attendance over the last two years. However, we have suffered a significant loss of congregation over the course of the last year; a family of four who emigrated to New Zealand back in January, two to death and two new members who are temporarily unable to attend due to family circumstances. In light of this, our main focus moving forward must be on strengthening links with the community with the aim of making new disciples.

Vision

What is the vision for your Church, Parish, Team Ministry or Benefice?

What we dream, hope and pray for above all else is that our sustained efforts facilitate St Lawrence’s in remaining open. This will allow us to continue to strengthen links with the village and wider community in order to reach new people. By tailoring our services accordingly, our aim is to attract new disciples who wish to grow in faith, deepen their relationship with God and worship in a variety of ways in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment.

Values

What are the core values for your Church, Parish, Team Ministry or Benefice?

Our core values are very much based upon Living God’s Love, the prayer of which sits proudly at the heart of our new church noticeboard. With the power of generosity, joy, imagination & courage, it is our wish to go deeper into God, aim to make new disciples and strengthen the bond between St Lawrence’s and the village of Steppingley, in order to become a more flourishing, Christ-centered community.

1st Priority

What is your 1st Priority to make your vision a reality?

To facilitate people in the village and surrounding areas to feel part of the Church, even if they don’t attend on a regular basis, or indeed at all. We aim to achieve this by making ourselves, our buildings and services accessible to all, including those on the periphery and beyond.

Which of the 3 strands of Living God’s Love does your 1st Priority most focus on?
Making New Disciples

SMART Goal to achieve your 1st Priority

To seek & understand the wishes of the village & wider community in terms of how they would prefer to worship and respond by holding accessible services, both regularly and at special times. We are also exploring the possibility of holding services in different formats, such as Evensong/Compline on a monthly basis. It is our aim to reach out to different sections of the community and draw in those on the periphery who would like to attend but may be uncomfortable with a more formal, structured service.

SMART Goal 2 to achieve your 1st Priority

To run events/activities that draw in the village & wider community and foster their involvement and sense of belonging.

SMART Goal 3 to achieve your 1st Priority

Our mission statistics show that in our congregation over the course of the last two years, the number of adults aged 18-69 has fallen from 12 to 4, whilst the number of adults aged 70+ has increased from 5 to 11. This shift in demographic was reinforced recently by a member of the congregation who highlighted the problem of loneliness, with a particular emphasis on the ageing population in the village. In response to this, we plan to introduce a ‘Tea & Talk’ event that will be open to all and initially take place at the Church on a monthly basis. Having reviewed trends in attendance at fundraising events, we feel that ‘Tea & Talk’ in the afternoon as opposed to ‘Coffee & Chat’ in the morning would best serve the local community. Our Reader has also worked hard to forge relations with the local care home, with the aim of starting ministry there on Wednesday 18th September, 2019.

MAP published at www.stalbans.anglican.org/maps/?id=21934
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  • Going Deeper into God
  • Making New Disciples
  • Transforming Communities