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St James's Mission Action Plan: 2010-2013

St. James's Church

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"In 1863 the parish and church of St James, Hampton Hill, were founded. The first vicar, Fitzroy John Fitzwygram, combined word and deed in proclaiming good news to the people in his care. He both spoke about Jesus Christ, and then through acts of practical caring demonstrated the love of Jesus Christ.

In 2013 St James’s will be 150 years old. This Mission Action Plan offers a series of actions to be taken that focus on growth — towards God, towards each other, and towards the world. These are in the tradition of Fitzwygram, whose pioneering ministry will be celebrated in 2013.

The Parochial Church Council offers this Plan as we seek to continue to be a church which is liberal, catholic and Eucharistic:
• Liberal — seeking to be generous, and open to the new
• Catholic — seeing ourselves as part of a wider Church and tradition
• Eucharistic — focussing our worship around the celebration of the Eucharist and, as a result, becoming a people marked by thanksgiving to God

Though our actions in this Plan may not be dramatic, they are evidence of our continuing to think, pray, worship, and act. The things to celebrate from 2007-10 are further indicators of this. In the footsteps of Fitzwygram, and the apostle James, we are sent out today."
Peter Vannozzi - November 2010

What we have achieved

Worship
• Seasonal booklets introduced
• A wide range of current liturgical material used
• Occasional evening services held during the year
• Sermon series - happened in Lent 2008, Lent 2009, and autumn 2009
• New prayer space put in place

Environment
• Eco Group has been formed and has met regularly
• Green electricity under active consideration (contract renewal in 2011)
• Harvest Festival has reflected our concern for the environment and the beauty of creation
• Fairtrade - regular stall once a month
• Tools with a Mission supported
• Ark used recyclable materials
• Church light bulbs progressively being replaced with energy saving bulbs

Children and young people
• New teachers recruited for Sunday School
• Establishment of The Ark
• Material at the back of church for both children and adults about the building, and regular Young Spire pages
• Rapport maintained with uniformed organisations
• Children's area re-arranged, new toys, etc.
• New all-age Communion booklet and guide to the service

Worship
• Occasional sermon series
• Opportunities for study in Advent and Lent
• Use of the Start! course in Lent 2010 leading to monthly evening study group
• Tea parties for older church members continued
• Baptismal tea party continued - though not in 2010
• Theatre group continues
• Social Committee - a few events organised each year, including pilgrimage to Westminister Abbey in 2009 and to St Paul's Cathedral in 2010; introduction of Harvest Festival lunch; introduction of Shrove Tuesday meal out
• 2010 pilgrimage to Holy Land
• 2010 Lent Quiet Day at Alton Abbey

Communication
• Welcome cards in pews
• Welcome leaflets at back of church
• Information cards about the church building at back of church
• Changing format of The Spire
• Expansion of the website

Outreach
• Vibrant links continued with charities, both at home and abroad
• The Ark established
• Active links maintained with local schools
• Clergy being visible and interacting in the local community

MAP 2010-2013 contains ideas for the future, but crucially also celebrates what we have done, as a church, as a result of our previous MAP. Word and action have combined to try and take forward the Church's mission in new ways, and b
uild on what is already being done, by God's grace. Our Mission Action Plan has three broad categories, each of which has a word in common - Growing.

Growing towards God
Growing through worship
Congregation to be invited to share in the planning of non-Eucharistic services in 2011 — specifically
Mothering Sunday, Christingle, and possibly Harvest Festival
Growing through learning
Sermon series in Lent 2011 on Faith and Work and in autumn 2011 on the Psalms
Growing through giving
Planning group to be set up in January 2011 to plan for a Stewardship campaign in June 2011

Growing towards each other
Growing through baptism
Parish Visitors to plan for service to celebrate baptism in September 2011
Growing through use of Start! course
Run course in autumn 2011 for those exploring Christianity — establish planning group summer 2011
Growing through social events
In autumn 2011 set up planning group for the church and parish’s 150th anniversary in 2013

Growing towards the world
Growing through care for creation
Change church and hall electricity supply to green supplier in spring 2011
Plan to replace church and hall boilers with energy efficient ones by 2013
Growing through outreach
Establish Facebook group in spring 2011
Identify person in spring 2011 to be vigilant about new parishioners and to prompt the administrator to send a welcome letter
Recruit more volunteers to support The Ark and continue an act of worship at least each term

The first category is 'Growing towards God'. Rightly, this comes first. Why? Because God comes first. If a local church, let alone the wider Church in which it is set, fails to pay first and primary attention to God, then it is not a church at all. It is simply another well-meaning organisation in a particular community. If a church is rooted in its faith and belief, then it is motivated by what it believes about God. As Christians, we are to take our inspiration from the story we have to tell - of God who made us; of God who rescued us; of God who sustains us. We have set out some ways in which we may seek to grow towards God as a community of faith.

Our second category is 'Growing towards each other'. Within any church community, people will understand belonging in different ways. Yet however we may view a church community, growing towards each other is not an optional extra. Why not? St. Paul speaks of the Church as the Body of Christ in which each part of the body finds a place. No part of the body can say to another 'You're not needed.' The Church is a communion or fellowship. '

Then thirdly - 'Growing towards the world'. It is still the case that Christians punch above their numerical weight when it comes to involvement in charities and voluntary activity. Part of this church's approach from its very foundation has been to look outwards. Why? Well, God sent his Son because he so loved the world' and not because he so loved the Church! Through care for creation, through use of new means of communication, through welcoming people in who would not otherwise step through our doors, through being visible in the community - we can grow towards the world.

So these are three categories or themes through which we can view our activities over the next three years with the common concern for growth. Specifically towards God, each other and the world. I hope that we can each play a part in this, and when we come to our 150th birthday in 2013, be surprised at what God has done.

The above is taken from Revd Vannozzi's sermon that introduced the Mission Action Plan 2010-2013 on 12th December 2010. Read the whole sermon


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