We believe that God is calling us to be:
A people who are Committed to Sunday’s, playing their part in serving and being open to God’s Spirit when we gather.
A people who are Connected with each other, becoming a Church of Home Groups, enjoying each other’s company and, living grateful lives.
A people who are Courageous in sharing their faith and demonstrating the love of God.
VISION UPDATE 2023
As we have sought God’s leading in different ways as a church over recent months, a clear theme emerged, involving the sea:
- a picture of sea and sand and sky, and the call of God to swim in all his goodness;
- of waves crashing on a beach, that might seem scary to us, but the call was to go in anyway;
- of St Mary’s being a beacon, a lighthouse, of hope in a tumultuous world.
God pointed us to the command he gave to Joshua, who himself was being called into participating with God’s plan of leading them into the land promised to them:
‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ Joshua 1: 9
God is inviting us out of the shallows to go deeper with him, trusting him more than we are at the moment, and not to be afraid.
ST MARY’S VALUES
St Mary’s Vision is to be Committed, Connected and Courageous and these are the Values that will serve the Vision, helping us to deepen it:
In the Old Testament, to have a reverence for God was to honour and respect his power, might and holiness. The New Testament builds upon this and calls us to revere God by being prepared to voluntarily die to self and obey his commands.
So, when we gather, let us arrive early, expectant, open to God’s work, knowing we worship a holy God who thunders from the Bible, is all powerful, and should be honoured as well as loved and enjoyed.
ROOTED IN SCRIPTURE
It became clear that there is a desire for us to know, learn and live out the Bible together. Our church family, including our young people, want to be helped to love this book, so that reading the Bible daily is out of joy, not a sense of ‘I ought to do this’.
We want to increase the number of us bringing our own Bibles to church each week, so that we open them, follow them, love these beautiful words of God that the Psalmist says are more precious than gold and Jesus says ‘If you love me you’ll obey them’. We need to know them in order to follow them!
RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH OTHER
We sensed that it is important after all we have been through with Covid-19 that we seek to spend time together. Jesus did so much ministry around food and eating with people that we’re sensing God wanting us to open our homes up and enjoy simple hospitality.
We will continue to invest in our home groups with training and encouragement for our leaders, seeking more people to experience the rich blessing of a small group of people to learn how to apply the abc’s of the gospel to the reality of life.
The early church lived in a compelling way. They were utterly counter-cultural – ordinary radicals – caring for the poor, the weak, the vulnerable, sharing everything, had a different sexual ethic, refused to worship culture’s gods, were generous with all they had… and it made people ask questions.
We have a clear sense the time has come to launch a new service, so within 12 months we want to regularly have an evening service. This is exciting but needs thinking about, because we struggle with volunteers to deliver two services as it is.
We sense God is calling us to equip and give more responsibility to our young people, seeing them participate much more in services, growing them, helping them take their own place more fully in the life of the church, discipling them so they can stand firm and flourish in all they do.
RELEASED FOR MINISTRY
‘Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up’ Ephesians 4: 11-12
We want to equip those in the workplace to be pastors in their offices. Workplaces are wonderful mission-fields which may have little bearing or fruit for St Mary’s directly but will help further the kingdom of God.
There are enormous pressures on marriages, and we need to help not just those young couples getting married, but those married for 10, 20, 30 years, so that they keep attending to their relationships, keeping growing in their love for each other, knowing this is the best way to help children grow up, keep communities stable, and enable us to grow old well! This is an important source of hope and help for people in the village.
We also sense God calling us to help equip men and strengthen their faith.
The reason God wants to take us deeper and see us fully alive, joining in his work, is because he loves our village and longs to see everyone come to faith in Him. He loves your neighbours, he loves your street, he loves the Horsley’s, and he is calling us to participate in his work.
Phil and Louise Herrington
Phil – Rector of St Mary’s