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MAP 2017 - Plans for the future

MAP 2017

This is a ministry for everyone – ‘each according to your means’ 2 Cor 8:11

The 2017 action plan tries to summarise the sort of church we are aiming to be:
1. “God is good, all the time”. At the centre of our life together is our worship. There are opportunities to worship in a variety of styles; everyone (of all ages) is welcomed and included.
2. “Everyone matters” St James is a family. We nurture the young and the young-in-faith, and each of us is always learning and growing. We care for one another - from experiencing an initial welcome as a newcomer, to being encouraged to play a full part as an established member of the family. We support one another as we can.
3. “Not a cruise ship but a lifeboat.” We are outward-looking. We have identified our neighbours’ needs and are offering our time and putting our gifts into action. We serve as individuals, and together as a church.

This is our vision of the church we believe is God is calling us to be - and will be the measure of our ‘success’ in the years to come.

Within that broader perspective we have developed some more immediate goals - our
action plan. Here are some of them:
● draft a year’s programme of social events - some for everyone, some for adults, some for families
● seize the opportunities to use our building midweek - now we have toilets
● take further action to improve our welcome to visitors and newcomers
● strengthen links with local organisations including the schools
● recruit a Children and Families’ Work Leader
● arrange learning events or short series for discipleship on Thursday evenings
● create a team to plan St James’s Day, when the Bishop of Kensington visits

But the first of our initiatives was the launch, after Easter, of ‘Together at Eleven” a service created to meet especially the needs of families (but everyone is welcome.) Everyone stays together in church for worship, teaching and prayer. To keep everyone interested there’s lots of interaction and activity; we aim to be on to refreshments and craft by 11.40! This has been a success, attracting a number of new families to St James’s. The PCC has now agreed to make it a permanent addition to our services. It will take a break over the summer holidays, returning in September. The PCC also agreed to advertise for a Children and Families worker to help with this and other outreach work.

The PCC agreed on a new church logo as part of a re-branding project to help us reach more people.

Two toilets, one suitable for wheelchair users and with baby changing facilities, have now been built in the west porch, opposite the parish office and complete the immediate projects to improve the church facilities and make the building more welcoming. The toilets make it easier to use the church independently of the hall. In the past weddings, funerals and concerts in church have needed access to the hall’s toilets, limiting hall hires and resulting in a reduced income from bookings. Derek, our vicar, said: ‘Not having toilets acts like a barrier to attracting new churchgoers, particularly if they have young families, but these facilities are also important for many of our older parishioners.’ Other improvements to the church include new west porch doors, a sink and power sockets in the vestry, further power sockets in the north and south aisle, and extra storage cupboards in the hall and the children’s area, where there are also new tables. See the photo album Church improvements.

The next project is to take down and repair the clock dials. The work will be carried out in  August and September, during which the tower will be shrouded in scaffolding. Once this work is complete we can re-plant and landscape the garden and position a new bench by the south porch. We will also be getting new noticeboards. And outside, the benches now look much more inviting to sit on!

There are many more of these initiatives in our Action Plan: some immediate, some for the coming year, and some for ‘one day.’ It is encouraging to know that Google considers that is doing well if it hits 60-70% of its ‘stretch goals.’ In fact I think Christian people should have goals that are a bit beyond what we can do ourselves - otherwise we are
factoring God out!

So St James’s has a vision and a plan. Now with prayer, we let’s move forward!

Read the leaflet Giving in Grace.