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St James's Mission Action Plan: 2007-2010

St. James's Church

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“The parish has grown and developed over the years. It has gone through many changes, as has both the larger Church and the community generally. The vision for the future is one of continuing development and growth; a journey of exploration and of new understanding. That vision is also to be increasingly inclusive, involving a wider group of people across the parish and welcoming others to join us”. Parish Profile September 2006. The Parish Profile prepared for the process of appointing a new incumbent identified priorities for the future which built on the past, but also an openness to developing further. A Mission Action Plan is an expression of this - a Plan which seeks to move a church community forward and not simply maintain its current activities, however good they may be.

Some key words from the Parish Profile are:
• Development • Growth • Exploration • New understanding • Inclusive • Involving • Welcoming

St James’s Church is described as: • Liberal • Catholic • Eucharistic

I understand these as meaning:
Liberal Open to new ideas and possibilities with a critical eye to the past and present, and generous in our attitudes
Catholic This literally means ‘universal’ and so we recognise our setting in the wider world and Church, and value the past as well as being concerned for the future
Eucharistic Our principal act of worship is the eucharist and we explicitly acknowledge Christ present in the world with all this entails for Christian living

Behind this is a vision of God. God is understood in the Christian tradition to be the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is seen as a community of love—one, but with distinctions. This is a dynamic understanding of God. God, who is changeless, yet also relates to changeable beings. Our life as a church is rooted in God - God’s nature should be our nature. Our Mission Action Plan should reflect this understanding of God. God does not ask us to remain the same, but to step out on a journey with him that involves new discoveries and endless possibilities. With this in mind, the Parochial Church Council offers its thoughts for the future and its priorities for 2007-10.
First, we look at the 2004-07 plan, review it, and identify what has been done as a result of it.
Second, we identify our objectives for the next three years.
Third, we offer some initial ideas and plans which will be our starting point as we work together over the next three years.
Peter Vannozzi - November 2007

Themes of the 2004-07 MAP
The MAP identified three guiding themes:
• Open for all • Engaging with the world • Growing in faith
How did these three themes enhance in practical ways the life of St James’s Church?
Read St James's Mission Action Plan: 2004-2007 to find out.

Preparing for the 2007-10 MAP
Using four broad categories the PCC considered the life of St James’s Church as we looked to the future:
• Worship and Prayer • Care and Service • Teaching and Nurture • Mission and Evangelism
What place do the four broad categories have in our vision of St James’s Church?

1. Worship & Prayer
• Central to it
• It is what makes the Church distinctive eg. one can listen to music in a concert hall and not just in church, but worship and prayer makes listening to it a distinctive experience
• Worship and prayer build up a sense of community, of ‘communion’, more than just belonging to a club
2. Care & Service
• Central to it – part of the essence of a church
• Care and service have love at their root
• They are vital if we are to have a real, integrated community at St James
• Individuals are involved in care and service in the wider community as our mission is not just to ourselves, but wider
3. Teaching & Nurture
• Teaching and nurture are essential so individuals and the church community can grow and develop
• Importance of learning continually so that faith does not become stagnant
• Vital nature of teaching and nurture for people new to the Church who may have little
knowledge of Christianity
4. Mission & Evangelism
• ‘Mission and outreach’ preferred to ‘evangelism’
• Mission and outreach central as about being outward looking
• Church’s mission is to reflect God’s love for us by showing love to other people.
• Importance of welcome as a sign of this

Themes as a focus for action in 2007-10
The PCC identified an overarching aim for the next three years:
How do we see St James’s Church in 2010?
A church community and local community brought closer to God

We then identified six themes following on from our discussions using the four categories above and our broad objectives for each theme are:
Worship - We aim to develop our forms of worship in order to make them more appropriate and helpful
Outreach - We aim to develop further contacts with the wider community, at home and abroad
Children and young people - We aim to give children and young people every opportunity to become involved in the Christian life by making it more attractive and accessible
Communication - We aim to develop channels of communication that support clear and consistent information and encourage dialogue
Learning and development - We aim to provide appropriate opportunities and resources for learning and developing within the Christian life
Environment - We aim to share our commitment to God’s creation by adopting measures to enhance and protect the environment

Initial ideas and plans for 2007-2010
The following are initial ideas and plans as to how we move forward to fulfil our objectives:
1. Worship
• Consider diversity in worship
• Explicit use of silence in worship
• Consider the place of posture in worship
• Use psalms on occasions in 9.30 service
• Use the Christian Year more fully eg. more seasonal variation in services
• First Sunday of the month 9.30 service: expand range of material used in the as part of a concern for building bridges for people from this service to others; look at themes to reflect both the Christian Year and key events for the uniformed organisations; consider printing the words of the hymns/songs on a separate sheet to help the children
• Consider the place of evening worship eg. occasional Evensongs, Advent Sunday special service, etc.
• Consider the experience of the interior of the church in general; examine re-ordering the top end of the north aisle to make it a more explicit ‘prayer area’ or quiet place in the church
• Sermon series: a series of sermons based on a specific title

2. Outreach
• Work to bring more people to the first Thursday at 2pm Holy Communion
• Visitors – identify more people to visit including bereaved people
• Build contacts further with Laurel Dene
• Procedure for following up newcomer
3. Children & Young People
• Affirmation of the place of children and young people in worship by asking them what they think of it, how they understand it
• Specific need to recruit a teacher for the ‘young church’ group meeting
• Material for both children and adults about the church building
• Maintain rapport with uniformed organisations
• Brighten up (‘freshen’) the children’s/family area at the rear of the north aisle and identify someone to be responsible for it
• Tap into the young mums who bring their children to the nursery
4. Communication
• Establish a group to look at our different means of communication and to propose a strategy to the PCC
• Need for a communication strategy; decide who we are addressing and provide different formats for different people
• Consider how we communicate with the media
• Look again at our pew sheet, service sheets, website etc.
• Welcome board and leaflets in west porch
• Welcome leaflet and card to be in each pew
• Poster strategy
• Consistency in publicity for events
• Material for both children and adults about the church building
• Article in ‘The Spire’ identifying involvement of church members in wider community activity and charities
5. Learning and development
• Provide courses for adults during the year eg. Advent, Lent
• Provide a Christian basics course (for newcomers) if needed
• Continue baptismal and Visitors’ tea parties
• Look at one-off events or short courses which bring people together
• Look at occasional coach trips/pilgrimages
• Reconstitute the Social Committee and plan a year of events: social events to be seen as part of care for the church community in all its diversity
6. Environment
Undertake an audit to assess our carbon footprint
• Take actions as a result of the audit to reduce our carbon foot print
• Keep environmental issues at the forefront of the minds of church members


The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
Main site: stjames-hamptonhill.org.uk