Over the past few years a shift has been taking place in the wider Church and in our own Diocese of Rochester. There is a new sense that the Church is called to healthy growth, and green shoots of new life are springing up in the most unusual and unlikely places. Our own parish in these villages has been experiencing this fresh sense of hope as we participate in this season of renewal. Instead of the management of decline we are now planning for growth. It’s not just about numbers, although it is encouraging to see our mid-week meetings becoming more and more popular. It’s also about deepening faith and there is a noticeable increase in the desire to grow in both our knowledge and experience of God.
Whilst we recognise that it is God who gives the growth we also know that we can do a lot to help in encouraging that God given growth. From the New Year we will be upgrading our Sunday teaching programme with an emphasis on intelligent, interesting, relevant and accessible weekly Bible teaching. Our week-day and evening study groups will also be opening their doors to anyone who wants to grow, so that as many people who want to, will have the opportunity to ‘learn’ Christ.
As a Church we will be looking ahead to see where else we sense the Spirit of God moving us in mission and engagement with our community. We have been so encouraged by Coffee in the Cloisters on Thursday mornings and the newly formed Anna Chaplaincy meeting at Fairseat Chapel on Wednesday mornings. However, growth brings challenges and we are conscious that we are in need of a new and coherent plan for the future. To this end we are thankful to have been offered external help for the purpose of casting vision and seeking to discern God’s plan for the future. The Diocesan Advisor in Church Growth is coming to lead a vision day for us on Saturday March 13th. This will give us an opportunity to look again at our current and future ministry and mission here in Stansted, Fairseat and Vigo.
Rev. Dr. Christopher Noble – Rector
St Mary’s Stansted with Fairseat and Vigo