Ministers Letter

Welcome from our Minister

 

 

Our Calling

In 2000, the Conference adopted Our Calling – four interconnected sentences (sometimes reduced to four labels) again intended to summarise our core convictions, but this time doing more: initiating processes of change in the pattern of Church life that we had inherited from our history, particularly from the 20th century.

 

Here are the Our Calling themes: The Church exists to:

• Increase our awareness of God’s presence and to celebrate God’s Love;

• Help people to learn and grow as Christians, through mutual support and care;

• Be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice;

• Make more disciples of Jesus Christ.

The Church exists to increase awareness of God's presence and to celebrate God's love. Worship.

The weekly acts of worship are the time when the Kingsdown community comes together. All ages taking part is an encouraging sign of life. Thanks to those who support the music, the flowers, the worship leaders and the workers with the younger ages in Crèche and Junior church, the welcomers, stewards and communion stewards… and many more. It really is an opportunity for us all to play a part. Thank you especially to all those who provide the refreshments after the service providing space for the family to be together and support our sense of community and support one another.

Challenges that face us include the need for more support for the work with youth and children. We are fortunate to have a diverse age profile which if we wish to maintain we need to work on developing the spirituality of our teenagers. This we will be seeking to address in the coming year and if you have a heart for working with children, young people and families or have ideas of how we can do this in different ways then please let us know.

There is a deep desire for worship to be glorifying to God as well as reflective of our church community and so we need to reflect further on how we can use and develop our worship. If you have a heart for worship and would like to contribute to this area of our life then again please let us know.

The regular communions are an important element of the worship diet of the church. I have been aware that there needs to be a conversation about the way we celebrate and how we include all ages of the church family whilst respecting the wide ranges of belief of this most central part of church life. That will be a challenge we may need to address in coming months

The regular parade and family services give an opportunity for us to vary our diet and to include other members of our church family –especially those who attend other churches. It is so good to see how they feel at home here; this sense of warmth of welcome needs to continue to be a priority

The services at festivals need to continue to be reviewed in the coming year as these are also opportunities to connect with the wider Northfield community and concerns have been raised about our lack of advertising our service times

Another strand of worship life that has developed over the recent years has been the Bereavement service in November. We need to ensure that this service continues to meet the needs of the community and need a person with a heart for this ministry to build on the work that has been started. Is that you?

The healing services have been a part of the diet of Kingsdown for many years however we have stopped this element of our worship diet. We need to discern where the spirit is inviting us to respond to this legacy and how it might develop in the future

The evening service has been slowly declining over the last years and we are thankful to all who have enabled this expression of worship. The recent changes in the makeup of our community and also the decision by Sydney to step back have given us the opportunity to consider the future style or need for this act of worship. Over Lent we have used the time for study and as we have not had time to discuss this in any depth decided to continue this until the end of the quarter. The circuit is keen to develop a variety of worship in the evening across the circuit and would welcome Kingsdown developing a study based act of worship . How does that sound to us?

In a conversation with one of our building users we found out that there might be an opportunity for a reflective service in the evening midweek. Is that something you may find helpful and would like to help us  explore?

 The Church exists to help people to grow and learn as Christians, through mutual support and care. Learning and caring.

This year has shown how caring and supportive this congregation is. The deaths of Ken, Vic and Alf have left a hole in our community along with the departure of Harold and Lynda. The number of people who have been taken ill in the congregation this year has been a little unnerving yet the care and understanding of the congregation has been great to see as you work together. We may not have had any baptisms but we have had a wedding and Easter Sunday saw us welcome a new member

The pastoral committee and its visitors have been a great help to me and we are considering how we can support our visitors through a pastoral care course. Anyone who feels called this vital ministry or to explore it then please let me or Derek know. Caring nature of Methodist congregations is one of our strength but we must not be complacent.

Learning too has been a focus of church life thank you to our house groups for continuing to give us all opportunities for study and it has been a privilege to work join with you.

Once again the work of the Junior Church has been vital in engaging our committed children and young people, under the learning banner. Also under this we celebrate the work of the BB – which  has a special focus on teaching about Jesus and the number of boys and families that are connected to us through this work widens the Kingsdown family and we need to nurture and care for leaders as well as the boys and families.

The learning element of church life has reached out beyond the church family with the annual display of Cribs. This has given us opportunities to work with Fielding school and local playgroups telling the story of Jesus birth. We have an opportunity to build on this work and there is a real interest from Splash and Dash that we could focus more on in the coming year.

Kingsdown also hosted the circuit confirmation classes during the January and February. Please encourage anyone who wishes to consider confirmation or membership training as the circuit will be running further course later in the year

The Church exists to be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice. Service

The Lenten studies have been focusing on being a just people considering how we use our God given resources to live out the Kingdom and one idea that came from this was to develop the work of the coffee bar with a chaplaincy to the High Street here in Northfield so that we can discover the needs in our community and respond to them.

It is amazing how involved Kingsdown is in the community and that takes many forms

Property – the building is well used by many members of the community. We have agreed to change the way we see those who rent our premises, seeing ourselves not as landlords but as people offering hospitality. As a first step we have offered opportunities for our users to meet with members of the property committee to see how we can work more closely together in the community.

The redevelopment project officially ended in September which signalled a major change in the way the property committee has been working.  Thank you to all who have been trying to find new ways of working. We have tried to get to grips with issues like the kitchen, storage and the dreaded 5 yearly property report which hasn’t been done for over 12 years. The spring clean has given the church a real face lift and we now do have storage!

The exploration of working with the doctors took a lot of our attention and I was grateful for all who shared their thoughts in such a short time as we looked at whether this was where we were being called to serve. This has now faded into the background unlikely to reappear

Finance. The managing of the church finance – has also changed over the last few months and we are getting to grips with new ways of working. We are the only church who pays its money to the circuit for ministry from its offertory and that is a very health position to be in. We still have some loans outstanding from the redevelopment less than £20,000. It is planned that these will be paid back within 5 years

The next set of bills for property will come from the 5 yearly inspection and so we do need to ensure that our offertory keeps pace with the assessment for ministry that we offer to the circuit. This is likely to rise as sadly Perivale church will close and that will have an impact on the remaining churches trying to maintain the ministry the circuit feels we need to fulfil our calling in this place at this time.

Giving to charities still remains a priority and the World Mission and Service Committee continue to keep this firmly in with in the life of the church through Book Fairs and educational events, MRDF and more. Christian aid is the next event in May watch the Messenger for more details.

Our charity of the year this year is Street Pastors who we support through offering office and now storage space as well as finance. Please continue to pray for this work

The Toddler group is very popular, sometimes having to sadly turn people away as we are too full. The team work tirelessly offering care to young families which is much appreciated. It is a great witness to the love of God through Jesus. We do take the opportunity to share a little of the gospel at festivals through story and song. We certainly need to explore what other opportunities we have with this group.

The Tuesday club offers service into the community through offering places to meet for fellowship and a great listening ear. This along with the variety of speakers gives a much need place for Northfield and we do need to see what other opportunities we have to develop this expression of service.

We offer service not only through the building but in the daily lives of our church community in Northfield community and families through your faithful day to day witness. The challenge for us is how to celebrate and integrate this in the coming year. The Gift of God was an attempt to do this by recognising the gifts that God has given us and how the Holy Spirit may be encouraging us to work in the future using these gifts. That was not as successful as we hoped it might be but those who came to our event learnt more about each other and it was a good time of fellowship

The Messenger, Website and notices are really important tools that hold together and advertise our church life and service. Thank you to all who contribute to these ensuring the information flows.

We have also been encouraged through ecumenical work in the last few months in getting to know the Bless community church meets at Elthorne Park School. They are part of the Pioneer group and there is a working agreement between Pioneer and the Methodist church at connexional level. We have begun to see what opportunities there are for us to serve the community together. This has begun with a shared youth group Wednesday and we are planning shared getting to know you events in the coming months. There is no intention of joining churches but of pooling resources to be as effective as we can be for the Kingdom of God

The challenge for us as a church in the year ahead is how we can build on the work already underway; where do we put our energy and resources?

The Church exists to make more followers of Jesus Christ. Evangelism

The final, often the most tricky, bit of “Our calling” is Evangelism. We often see this as big mission events etc. However Evangelism underpins all of what happens in Service, Learning and Caring as well as Worship. However one event that needs to be noted here was Prodigal. It was a major effort and thank you goes to all who made it possible across the church community and beyond. We not only saw how talented the young people who are connected to the church are but to consider the familiar parable and what it means to us and challenge our commitment to God through Jesus.

There is a reluctance often to share our faith for we think we need to have all the answers yet time and again God works with what we have not when we have it all. We do need to consider who we can grow in confidence of being able to break the sound barrier by sharing what we believe whilst allowing others to have their own opinion.

What events can we plan in the next year to continue to encourage our sharing of faith and overtly pass on this good news?

Conclusion

It has been a year full of changes and one more comes in the next 6 weeks as the staff move around. I am sure that if we as a church and the Church Council can keep building on the foundation that God has set in the past and look for the way in which the Spirit is moving helping us use the resources here so that we can continue to witness to the presence of Jesus in this community and in our lives..

We will need to prioritise and it would be helpful to hear from you what you feel our priorities should be so that when Church Council meets again it can begin to shape a plan for the next year and beyond.

Thank you.

 


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