Church of Royston, St John the Baptist
« Mission Action Plan »
Since our last MAP one year ago, we have made a lot of progress:
Our 1st Priority was to restore our church building (currently out of use following a major fire). We have worked closely with the DAC, Ecclesiastical Insurance, Architects, Project Managers and Building Contractors in the restoration of the fire-damaged building through a three phase programme. Phase 1 (making the building safe for repairs) was completed in mid 2020, Phase 2 (building work to repair the fire damaged roof and tower) is nearing completion (26 weeks through a 40 week project). Through the Fabric Development Committee and PCC, key decisions have been made for the final (3rd) Phase: specifying heating, lighting, seating, organ, audio visual system, furnishing, kitchen and toilet arrangements. Fund raising has started.
Our 2nd Priority was to maintain the life, ministry and mission of the church whilst out of the building. We found an alternative location (a school) for services until the first Covid lockdown in March 2020, and hired the Town Hall from September to December (2nd lockdown). We managed to continue worship during lockdown by setting up a YouTube channel for recorded and live-streamed services. As of April 2021 there have been 6,600 views totaling 13,000 hours viewing time since our first ever YouTube broadcast on 17th May 2020. Lockdown has stimulated us to find other ways to communicate with our congregation digitally with Zoom housegroups, virtual coffee after church, Ladies group socials, choir socials, Lent Group, etc. We now send weekly e-mails to over 150 subscribed members via Mailchimp. People not on e-mail (27 households) are contacted by phone and mail. Banners outside the church remind townsfolk that we are still have a worshipping community and we have posters advertising events and church building progress on the church gates as well as via our website, A Church Near You, Facebook and Twitter and local TV and newspaper articles.
The building works have taken longer than anticipated (we had been hoping to be back in the church by the end of 2020) due to the damage to the tower arch being more serious than originally anticipated; in addition, building work stopped for 7 weeks due to Covid during the first lockdown in 2020.
Covid restrictions meant that it was not possible to hold a gift day as planned, although we did hold two outdoor market stalls to raise awareness and sell merchandise.
Covid 19 also had a greater impact whilst our church is closed for repairs, as we have found it hard to find premises large enough to accommodate our congregation with social distancing. At the time of writing, due to the high prevalence of Coronavirus, our services are all on-line; we are praying that when restrictions are eased, we will once again find a location to use safely for worship until the church building re-opens.
Focused on God, we want to be a growing fellowship of believers, who are being encouraged and developed at all stages in our faith journey and who are reaching out to and serving the people of Royston.
Our core values are summarised by the Five Marks of Mission :
1. to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
2. to teach, baptise and nurture new believers
3. to respond to human need by loving service
4. to seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
5. to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
To complete the repair and refurbishment of our church building so that once again it will be God’s house of prayer in the heart of the community of Royston and used for worship and a range of community activities.
SMART GOAL 1: Building works completed and in use by Easter 2022
The Vicar, Churchwardens, Treasurer and Fabric Development committee will be working closely with the Diocesan Advisory Committee, Ecclesiastical Insurance, Architects, Project Managers and Building Contractors to maintain oversight of the project, reviewing progress and schedule at monthly meetings.
SMART GOAL 2: Renovate vestry to include use for children’s activities:
Prepare plans by September 2021 and employ contractors so that the works are carried out in parallel to Phase 3 of the church repairs so that the vestry refurbishment is complete at the same time as the main church refurbishment (by Easter 2022).
SMART GOAL 3: Raise sufficient funds to complete the building work
A dedicated Fund-raising committee is applying for grants, running a chair sponsorship campaign, holding fund-raising stalls with merchandise such as Christmas cards, notelets, tea towels, mugs and a cookbook. Funds of approximately £400,000 will need to be raised to complete the building work.
To develop our work of ministry and mission to the community of Royston despite not being able to use the church building as a base for worship, and at a time of restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The goodwill and support of the community during these difficult times since the church fire in 2018 has been impressive and continuing to engage with and involve the town is vital.
SMART GOAL 1: Continue to provide church services and activities both on-line and (when the Covid situation permits) in locations around town
Hold services (e.g. Weekly Eucharist, Tea Time Praise, Carol Service and other seasonal services) in locations such as the Town Hall or the School (when the Covid situation permits) and recorded video or livestreamed services on our YouTube channel.
Hold events on Zoom (e.g. Housegroups, After-Church Coffee, Lent Course, Social Events).
SMART GOAL 2:To publicise events in a timely fashion
Maintain an up to date and engaging presence via our website/ACNY, Facebook, Twitter, mailshots, the Parish magazine (“Across Royston”), “The Listing”, banners and posters outside church. If possible, have stalls at community events such as May Fayre/Kite Festival.
To prepare for and promote the re-opening of the Church by Easter 2022.
SMART GOAL 3: Mission to Children
Hold regular Tea Time Praise services (on-line at present), prepare children’s activities such as Easter bags, write letters of encouragement to children in the congregation, termly assemblies in schools.
To prepare and pray for the re-opening of the church building by Easter 2022
The re-opening of the church, planned to take place by Easter 2022, is not only yearned for by the congregation but also by the townsfolk who view the church building as the heart of the town. Even people who never set foot in church in normal times will want to visit to see how it has been restored, so the re-opening presents a great opportunity for outreach.
SMART GOAL 1: Pray for guidance
Throughout the year, pray that we may be inspired to use the opportunity that the re-opening of the church will provide to engage with the community.
SMART GOAL 2: Plan to celebrate
In September 2021 we will actively start to make concrete plans for activities to celebrate the re-opening and re-dedication of the church by Easter 2022 and welcome the community into the building, inviting them to join us on the faith journey, whatever stage they may be at.
SMART GOAL 3: Plan for outreach activities
The newly refurbished church building will offer more options for providing a wide range of activities. By January 2022 preliminary plans will be in place to follow on from the opening of the church to support both the church community and the wider community that we reach out to, in their/our journey of faith to God. In the months following the re-opening of the church building, we will be better informed to make longer term plans.
Work towards achieving net zero Carbon by 2030
The PCC have voted to support the Church of England’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon by 2030. To help us achieve this we set up an Eco Church committee which held its first meeting in December 2020, and are now defining the scope of our activities and to come up with a plan to achieve this goal. The committee is very new and we need to develop a way of working and communicating with other committees (especially the Finance, Fabric and Fabric Development Committees) and engage with the congregation.
SMART GOAL 1: To review Phase 3 plans [for refurbishment of Royston Parish Church following the fire of 2018] to ensure that the potential for aligning with Eco Church principles is maintained*
We will work with the Fabric Development and Finance Committees to ensure that, as far as practically possible, the plans for the Phase 3 Church Refurbishment (starting in April 2021/completion Feb 2022) are aligned towards achieving carbon neutrality. We continue to review Phase 3 plans at every Fabric Development Meeting (where we have three representatives), and challenge decisions if necessary.
*Noting that the Eco Church committee was only formed after the initial plans were drawn up.
SMART GOAL 2: To measure our baseline carbon footprint
By 31 May 2021, we aim to complete baseline surveys for (i) A Rocha and (ii) 360Carbon. These will establish what our carbon footprint currently is (or was just prior to the fire) and help us to identify specific targets both to enable us to reduce our carbon footprint to zero by 2030 and to promote Eco Matters within our community.
SMART GOAL 3: To promote biodiversity
The Eco Church committee’s remit will also include promoting bio-diversity, with the following specific goals:
• We will publish an article on Eco matters in each bimonthly Parish Church magazine (and have already started to do this).
• Hold a Climate Sunday Service by September 2021.
• Work with local nature groups to install swift boxes in the belfry in 2022.
• In readiness for church re-opening in Feb 2022, come up with a plan of activities that promote biodiversity for the land that we have control over (e.g. to the south of the church), encouraging the participation of younger members of the congregation.