SHERWOOD PARISH MISSION ACTION PLAN

 

VISION AND VALUES

Our Vision

Our vision is of a church that looks upwards and works outwards: A God- centred community that serves Him faithfully in all aspects of life and is committed to making and nurturing disciples who show and share God’s love in the community. 

Our Values – We aspire to be:

  • Rooted in Christ, dedicated to worshipping Him and seeking to follow Him through prayer, worship and the study of His Word

  • Grounded in serving our local community with the love and compassion of Jesus

  • Flourishing through the use of all our talents, and marked by respect for each other as fellow members of the body of Christ.

REVIEW

Where we are starting from:

For over 150 years the parish of Sherwood has faithfully shared the good news of the gospel. It has been a spiritual home to many people.

The parish of Sherwood ministers through two churches, St Matthew’s on the corner of Oxley and Sherwood Roads, Sherwood, and St John’s in California Road, Oxley. There are four congregations within these two churches: at St Matthew’s there is a 7am prayer book communion service and a 9 am contemporary service, one of which is a monthly Messy Church (MICSA), while St John’s has a weekly 8am traditional sung communion.   Both churches have substantial church buildings and large but ageing halls which make them significant physical and geographical presences in their local communities. The challenge continues to be, as it is for many churches, to convert this physical and geographical presence into a vibrant and contemporary Christian presence within the community.

In 2016 the parish sought to go for growth and expand its presence in the community by embarking on a plan to redevelop the St Matthew’s site to include a childcare centre. It was envisaged this would maximize the potential of our substantial assets as well as provide an income stream to support the parish in achieving our goals of growing our church both in numbers and discipleship. In 2020 the Parish was obliged to abandon this plan as we faced significant obstacles which made it not viable to proceed for the present.

Where we are going:

Our vision remains to continue and grow our longstanding ministry in ways that meet the current needs of the different generations in the community our parish serves, remaining faithful to Jesus’ commission to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the end of the age”. (Matt.28:19-20).  We aim to do this in ways that are relevant to our generation, our community and our time in history.

We seek to honour God in all we do and our goal is to be not just sustainable, but to be growing and flourishing in discipleship, in numbers and in service to God, to each other and to our community.

How will we get there?

To achieve our goal, we are focussing on 4 key areas – Worship; Discipleship; Outreach; Caring.

Priority 1 - WORSHIP

Grow in helping each other as followers of Jesus worship God by

  • Monitoring attendance in all congregations and following people up as part of our Pastoral Care.

  • Linking new people with more established members of our congregation to help them feel at ease worshipping with us and to help them grow as followers of Jesus

  • Using the newly developed welcome pack to ensure newcomers, particularly Messy Church and baptismal families are followed up promptly and encouraged to feel part of our Parish family

  • Inviting new people to be part of parish rosters as soon as seems appropriate to ensure their talents and gifts as followers of Jesus are identified and used in our worship together.

Priority 2- DISCIPLESHIP

Help each other grow in our daily lives as followers of Jesus by

  • Establishing focused, seasonal Bible study as part of the culture of the Parish, tying in with readings from the lectionary. Have daily readings available for the Parish, either in book form or on-line.

  • Maintaining an accurate and accessible Parish directory so that contact can be made easily to encourage, support and pray for each other.

  • Forging stronger links with all school chaplains within the Parish so that we can be praying for and encouraging them in their work.

  • Giving support to and widely publicizing information about all groups within the parish including Home Groups, Prayer Groups, the Cursillo group and Tiny Tots’ Tuesday as well as exploring other innovative ways to expand this ministry to encourage people of all ages to grow as disciples of Jesus.   

Priority 3 - OUTREACH

Build on our connections to the local community by

  • Drafting a calendar of events annually and widely publicising them, including within the community. Events such as Christmas in July and the recent author talk help strengthen such connections, but significantly more could be achieved if our current buildings were substantially refurbished.

  • Developing a Prayer Garden and quiet spaces in the grounds of St Matthew’s which are easily accessible for the community and might serve as a bridge for people who feel that coming into the church building is a bridge too far for the moment. Encouraging the community to use our grounds for lunch, prayer and quiet reflection.

  • Supporting Religious Instruction in schools in our community by an ongoing financial commitment through a retiring collection as required and by promoting the ministry of those people from our Parish who are involved.

  • Having the church buildings open during the week whenever possible to be a welcoming presence in the community. Guided tours of the very impressive stain glass windows in St Matthews accompanied by an illustrated booklet and a cup of tea or coffee could be offered as a lead up to the 100-year celebration of the Church building on its current site in 2023.

 Priority 4 - CARING

Be committed to loving God, loving our neighbour and loving God’s Kingdom in the wider world as followers of Jesus by

  • Making church community aware that a Pastoral Care Group has been formed and inviting people in the congregation to become involved.

  • Protecting our environment and being good stewards of God’s creation by promoting strategies to re-use, reduce and recycle within our Parish as well as using fair trade products wherever possible.

  • Continuing to support organisations that focus on ending poverty and the exploitation of people and promote social justice.  Ensuring our community is aware of the issues that we stand for and the mission activities that the Parish supports financially as well as keeping the people in the Parish well informed on where our money goes and how it is being used.

  • Recognizing and publicly celebrating milestone events in the lives of people in our Parish and joining in community celebrations where appropriate

 

Priority 5 – Enabling our Action Plan

Success in reaching the goals set out in this Mission Action Plan can only be achieved by upgrading our ageing facilities to meet acceptable community standards so they can be used for more effective community engagement and to provide an income stream to support our work of disciple-making.

This can be done by

  • STARTING THE PROCESS NOW

  • Forming a Property Working Group to look at the way forward and prioritise what needs to be done.

  • Using reports already conducted for all our assets to determine what the steps forward will be

  • Investigating all sources of funding to accomplish the work that needs to be done. Use all the resources within the Parish (and beyond as appropriate) to develop a strategy for applying for grants. Possibly a sub-group of the Property Working Group could be tasked with becoming experts in sourcing and applying for grants.

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