Local Mission Initiatives
On this page:
Cambridge St Martin's Bible Study series on Vision and Mission
Revd Stephen Leeke of Cambridge St Martin's writes:
During this year as a Parish we will be forming a Mission Action Plan. It will involve special meetings and occasions and a process of listening to God and to each other. Looking at our parish and neighbours we will try to discern the needs and challenges of the age in which we live.
In our Home Groups we will look at a large number of Bible passages describing the missions given to groups and individuals in history. We will try to understand them and see how they can help us to understand and establish our own mission and calling.
We will ask ourselves the same questions in each case and try to establish the rich teaching of scripture which describes the way God raised up and inspired men and women to serve him in their own time. I hope we will find inspiration for our own mission and that of our Church.
I hope that group leaders will note down and report their findings and opinions and so feed them into the decision making process of the church.
In the studies I have alternated Old Testament and New Testament passages so as to balance the teaching. I have not selected them in order to lead to a preconceived conclusion and I would be very happy for groups to study other texts if they think they have something to offer, or to change the order in which they approach the chosen passages if they wish.
As there are 28 studies this will be a long series but it will take us to some favourite Bible passages and, I hope, throw new light on them. It will be important for the leaders to keep things fresh and interesting - creative use of the Welcome and Worship will help.
St Mary’s Burwell’s Youth Exchange Programme Summer 2009
Revd Canon Stephen Earl writes:
40 young people aged 13 - 25 took part in St Mary’s Burwell youth programme this summer with its own youth group joining with young folk from link parishes in Germany and Hungary (Lutheran and Reformed churches respectively.)
The programme included a week at the Norwich Diocese Activity Centre at Horstead, close to the Norfolk Broads, with lots of exciting activities including canoeing, climbing, abseiling, high ropes, raft building, archery, cycling, sailing, brass rubbing, rambling, and a visit to an east coast seaside resorts of Sheringham & Cromer.
Before going to Horstead, from Burwell we visited Cambridge – King’s College Chapel, and punting of course, had a barbecue in the Vicarage garden, and enjoyed a day’s excursion by coach to London which included climbing to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral, seeing Docklands, Tower Bridge, the Millennium “wobbly” bridge, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Horseguards Parade, Buckingham Place, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden!
On our return from Horstead, we stopped off at King’s Lynn to board a replica of a C15th tallship, the Lisa von Lubeck, recalling former “Hanseatic League” trading links. The following day, the young people themselves all contributed towards a Family Service at St Mary's Burwell on the theme of “the Good Shepherd” – with some live sheep in church, courtesy of a local farmer. After a magnificent outdoor parish lunch several others joined the young people for a walk across the fen to Reach and back along the Devil’s Dyke.
As always we made lots of new friends and had a great deal of fun. We learned from others what life is like in their own country, about their culture, traditions and hopes for the future, and compared this with life in this county; the young people themselves leading discussions and giving presentations.
St Mary’s Church has run these highly successful visits over a number of years (countries taking it in turn to host each year) and the programmes are open to anyone in the community who would like to take part, not just folk with connections with the church, though being church-led there are daily mediations - this year focussing on the “I am” sayings of the fourth gospel.
Our discussions included certain topics proposed by the EU such as migration, extremism, and nationalism (a condition of receiving a sizeable grant), and we had many lively discussions.
The programme involved not only the young people and leaders, but a great many others in the parish providing accommodation, helping with the airport runs, donating gifts of food, providing meals – including a barbecue for the whole group and lots of visitors, organising a bring & share lunch, the parish walk, the tea at Reach, taking photographs, etc etc.
For the young people themselves it was a great experience they’ll not forget. They learned so much in their living together in Norfolk “under one roof”: lessons about tolerance, understanding, patience and getting along with one another that of course are lessons for life, and many achieved things they’d never previously imagined they could through the programme of physical activities. For many too it was their first real exposure to the Christian faith.
The whole programme was initiated 11 years ago (through the North Elbe link) with the aim of building bridges and friendships with those in a country / countries with whom we had formerly been at war, seeking - in a spirit of Christian fellowship - to set aside residual hostilities and on-going prejudices through a greater under-standing of one another’s countries, cultures and histories.
OASIS - a Holiday-at-Home for senior citizens
The Revd Canon David Lewis writes:
'Oasis' started with the idea of providing a Holiday-at-Home for senior members of Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge at a place and time that were friendly to senior citizens. Haslingfield Methodist Church was ideally suited with excellent facilities and August can be a month when time drags for seniors.
So we started at Haslingfield Methodist Church in August 2005 with the aim of offering four days of friendship, relaxation, shared activities and meals, entertainment and refreshment - a sort of 'Oasis'. The premises were decorated to remind us of the Caribbean and we chose the theme of 'living water'. We‘ve now held four 'Oases' with the themes of 'rest on a journey', 'trees' and 'mountains'.
People arrive at about 9.45am (arranging transport stretches our logistical skills). Some tackle the daily quiz or a jigsaw puzzle; some want to sit and talk or read a newspaper. Then follows a wide variety of activities: model or banner making, quilling, quilting, painting, making table decorations, mug or glass painting, cooking for one, woodwork, music making, improving computer skills, Christian meditation, ‘chairobics’….. This year a grandmother made a pair of stilts for her grandson, some widowers gained new cooking skills and ideas, there was a splendid display of crafts and a banner was placed in the local parish church. One year croquet took off in a big way. For the last two years we have compiled a log book of some people’s life stories, each having a couple of A3 pages of incidents and photos. Life in wartime has featured regularly, others have told a Christian testimony. It is always intriguing to see photos of our members in the heyday of their youth.
A feature follows related to the overall theme; for last year’s ‘trees’ the Head Gardener of Wimpole House came and we visited the garden of the local manor. This year we ‘travelled’ with a mountaineer to the Caucasus and were enthralled by a missionary doctor’s exploits on the borders of China nearly ninety years ago.
At the end of the morning a twenty minute service expresses what we are about through hymns or songs, a bible reading and short talk, prayer and maybe a Christian testimony. Then comes lunch; everyone brings and shares for the savoury course, we provide the sweets and drinks. We reckon that 2.30pm is a reasonable time to finish enabling those who wish to have a siesta.
We have welcomed local villagers and people from wider contacts. This year we were supported by members of at least twelve churches in and around Cambridge. Over sixty people came which is a comfortable maximum for the premises so next year we are feeling towards two ‘Oases’. This will mainly depend on there being an adequate support team. We have needed a team of at least six people to be committed to make the holiday happen. As well we have been blessed by a gifted and willing wider team. We regard a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere as essential, especially as a number come on their own. It is always a challenge to combine a holiday atmosphere with efficient organisation. Careful planning and strong team work have been key, combined with the goodwill of supporting churches. We have charged £5 a day or £15 for the four days. With that and donations we always ended in the black. This year the holiday members were happy to give some money to work among orphans in Romania. The rest used to finance follow up activity and to support mission in local churches.
Each year we have received a stream of thank you letters; now some people are arranging their holidays so they can be free to come to ‘Oasis 2009’. This has all made it so rewarding. This year I am running a follow up group and about fifteen are coming. It has been very encouraging to see some who live on their own in local villages flourish in the warmth of an open Christian community.
Do contact The Revd Canon David Lewis, 11 The Meadows, Haslingfield, Cambridge CB23 1JD, tel 01223 874029 if you would like further information about Oasis.
The Source Coffee Shop
The Source Coffee shop opened at Manor Farm, Bourn on August 2006 in response to Annette Browning's vision to develop a coffee shop with the good qualities and contemporary feel of the popular High Street chains but also be a place to give a warm welcome to all and bring the community into closer contact.
In addition to being a coffee shop the Source hosts a variety of events ranging form Marriage Courses to Jazz Evenings and Frock Exchanges. From January 2009 they will be meeting on Sundays at 4.30pm for an hour for Coffee Church - a place for those who might not feel comfortable about walking into church but would like to explore more about Christianity via a short talk and discussion after.
Read all about this exciting initiative in Annette's account here.
'First Bite' is an informal Sunday morning event sponsored by a group of churches in rural Cambridgeshire, led by the Rev Peter Dowman. It was reported on in the Spring 2009 edition of CPAS's Church Leadership magazine. The article can be read here
Click here to subscribe to CPAS's Church Leadership magazine.