Streetly All Saints Church

Mandy

Pastoral Letter March 2017

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All Saints’ Parish Church, Streetly

 

A Pastoral Letter from the Vicar

 

Patterns of Worship at All Saints’ Church

 

       In November 2016, the PCC agreed that the time was right to begin a conversation about the pattern of our worship services. This conversation should begin and end with prayer, as we seek to listen to where God is calling us to follow Christ in building a healthy and sustainable church family at All Saints.

       I invite you to make this prayer before you read on.

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

 

What does the Bible say about being disciples of Jesus?

 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called in baptism, into the body of Christ, we are taught all are equal in God’s sight, each is made fearfully and wonderfully different. As believers in Christ, we are called into a community of believers, where we are to worship and serve God together, as Jesus himself showed us to live. We are encouraged as the body of Christ not to be divided but to grow and change as we journey with God. Above all, we are called to love God and to love one another (John 13.34).

What does a healthy church look like?

Lichfield Diocese has encouraged us to look for five signs to assess whether we are a thriving, healthy church. A healthy church will be seeking to grow and develop in all five areas. A healthy Church is seeking to be: -

·         Discovering the Heart of God, looking for God each day, through our prayer life, reading of Scripture, in the world around us and in one another.  

·         Growing Disciples, looking for ways to learn more about our faith and grow in relationship to Christ

·         Reaching New Generations, looking for ways we can encourage young people, youth and families to come to know God and worship God.

·         Practicing Generosity, looking for ways to give back to God what we have so generously been given; our money, our time, our possessions and our relationships, recognizing that all are a gift from God for us to use wisely in God’s Kingdom.

·         Transforming Communities, looking for ways to get involved with the local community, the issues facing our neighbours both locally and worldwide. Sharing God’s love, justice and mercy.

Where do we feel, God is leading us in 2017?

The members of the PCC discern that we will see spiritual growth when we come together to worship as one body. By worshipping together, we will begin to disperse boundaries and divisions between people. These divisions have been unhealthy and have hampered the spiritual and numerical growth of the church. However, we wish to engage as many people as possible and to hear your thoughts and views as we grow together as the body of Christ.

What about Streetly Community?

We know that people outside our regular worshiping body will come to church if they are invited. They may not attend every week or even every other week but they will come. When people not used to church or who have not been brought up in church come to a service, it helps them to see and hear a welcome that will help them learn more about God.

Why does church feel different now?

The world we live in has changed. Church has changed, church attendance and preferences for worship has changed. Figures in 2012 showed that people attending All Saints Church had dropped by more than two thirds in the previous ten years. In the last four years, the number of people attending the 9.30am service has remained the same despite losing people through illness, death or moving away. This means that as we lose people, others are coming but we are not the same congregation. The 11.00am Sunday service, is less static, with more movement of people coming and going, this makes it harder to establish relationships and build a sense of community. Our congregations are represented by those who are retired and those with young families and children. There are very few people who regularly attend church in their fifties and sixties. This has a very big impact on our mission and ministry as a church. 

We’ve got people to help, haven’t we?

All Saints has a strong committed fellowship. However, for a large church (i.e. over 50 people attending) we have a limited number of people who are authorised to lead worship (a Vicar, a Curate, a retired Priest with Permission to Officiate and two Lay Readers). This lays a heavy burden on a few people to lead services on Sundays and through the week and officiate at baptisms, weddings and funerals. Members of the church family sing and play at services, warden, welcome, serve people coffee, steward, clean, count the offertory, operate the sound desk and tidy up after services. Often the people that serve on Sunday also verge at funerals, weddings and baptisms and ensure the church buildings are safe and fit for purpose. We do not employ a verger or cleaners but rely on the church family to help, many of whom serve God in other ways by taking home communion or visiting the sick. 

What can we do?

Between Sunday 19 March and Sunday 23 April, the PCC has asked that we all think and pray about how we can move towards becoming a healthier, inclusive and more sustainable church. A church where people are welcomed, where all generations can worship, learn about their faith and grow in their relationship with God day by day.

The PCC would like to encourage you to talk to one another honestly about these issues with kindness and grace. We are seeking to move forward together to be a stronger, healthier church for Christ. To do this we will be preaching, consulting and offering everyone on the Electoral Role, and those who attend services, to have an opportunity to express their views in small groups and via the attached questionnaire.

Please complete the attached questionnaire and return it to the church office by Sunday 23 April. Please enquire in the church office if you would like a large print, electronic version of the questionnaire or be put in touch with someone you could dictate to. We would like to encourage individual responses from people of all ages across all the congregations on Sundays and during the week, regular or occasional attenders. Please ask if you would like more copies of the questionnaire for your household to complete.

If you have anything outside the questionnaire you would like to share, please talk to the Vicar, the Curate, a Staff Team member or any member of the PCC. We are keen to hear all your views and to engage with everybody.

Thank you and God Bless you as we seek to follow Christ together.

 

 

                Revd Mandy

 

 

Revd Mandy Walker, Vicar of All Saints Parish Church, Streetly

Lent 2017

Last Updated ( Saturday, 25 March 2017 19:53 )
 

Transforming ourselves to save others

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This week my son and I went to see the film Ant-Man. This is an American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters of the same name. Scientist Hank Pym has developed technology, in the form of suit, which when worn and activated, transforms a man to ant-size proportions, hence the title of the film, Ant-Man. As the plot develops it becomes clear that by shrinking and then growing, Ant-Man will save the world from immanent disaster. I won’t tell you any more, just in case you want to go and see it!

The idea of transforming, changing ourselves to save others, started me thinking about Paul’s words to the Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12.2)

Read more...
 

Messy Church

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Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Matthew 28.19

We have been encouraged by Bishop Jonathan to consider how we might grow as a healthy church. That means how we can seek to grow up healthily as followers of Jesus Christ together as well as to grow numerically as a body of people worshipping in Streetly.

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Sermon , Year B, Easter 7. 9.30am All Saints Church, Sunday 17 May 2015

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People sometimes attach human attributes to organisations. They talk about a company being happy or healthy; they describe their organisation as being caring or sick. I wonder how you would describe the Church in terms of its emotional and mental wellbeing. I wonder how  would you describe our emotional or mental wellbeing here at All Saints ?

I think I’d use a term like bi-polar: not in a serious medical sense ( I am well aware that it is a serious medical illness) but rather in the way the Church is called to live simultaneously in two different realities: earth and heaven.

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Praise the Lord

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He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord

Psalm 40:3

Worship is celebration - a celebration to be experienced and a celebration to be shared. When the family holidayed with my Mother and Step-Father in Lanzarote, we visited the Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains) which were created when more than 100 volcanoes, covering more than 50 km², rose up and devastated part of the island. The area is now a national park, Parque Nacional de Timanfaya. If you visit you will witness several demonstrations of 'how hot' the area is (temperatures just a few metres below the surface reach between 400°C and 600°C). A dry brush thrown into a hole in the ground catches fire immediately, while water poured into a bore hole erupts seconds later in the form of steam - like a mini-geyser.

Whilst watching these demonstrations of power, I noticed how we displayed a sense of awe, a worship-like quality. We had witnessed something powerful, something beyond ourselves. "Did you see that? Amazing, wasn't it?" With a sense of reverence we returned to the coach that had brought us up the mountain. We had witnessed something spectacular and it had touched us.

The same dynamic occurs when we come to worship God, or should happen. We ought to witness the spectacular hand of God and be touched. We are supposed to witness something beyond ourselves. We are meant to be in awe, spellbound, mesmerized by the life-giving, life-flowing, power of God. IN response, we should be motivated to tell others about what we have experienced.

King David wrote, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord (Psa. 40:3). From these words we see two profound elements of worship: celebration and proclamation.

David had an experience with the God. God had rescued him and refreshed him. David had experienced the presence of God. He was changed and he could not remain silent. He sung praise to God "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God" (Psa. 40:3). David was exuberant in song and praise. He was excited. He could not contain his joy, his happiness, his relief. He had to shout and sing a new song.

There was a freshness and newness to David’s experience with God. It was as though he were seeing God for the first time. David’s singing was praiseful - it was worship. David was expressing a song of gratitude to God for who he is, what he said, and what he was doing. David knew that the source of his good fortune was God himself.

David says, “Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord”. As David praised God many heard him praising. They did not merely hear his praise, they saw him praising. And, in turn they too would find that security and joined in worship. David's joy before the God was his witness.

Christians don’t worship just at church; worship ought to be the constant attitude and activity of our lives. At church we worship publicly and corporately. And, when the church gathers to worship, it also gathers to witness. Worship always includes witness.

When people far from God hear people close to God giving heartfelt praise to they are intrigued. There is a mystery, a wonder, a marvel. Questions are asked: How does that happen? Why does that happen? Sparks from the fire of our worship ignite dry hearts causing them to sing a new song and seek to praise God.

William Booth the founder of the Salvation Army used to say: "If a church was on fire for God, people for miles would come to watch it burn." To paraphrase Booth: If believer’s experience the fire of God's worship then lost people would be drawn to God like a moth to the flames.

In June All Saints’ Church will be hosting a Music Festival for the community of Streetly. I hope you are able to come and will bring a neighbour, relative or friend to enjoy the varied musical programme Chris Booth has arranged for us. Particularly, I hope you will seize the opportunity to come to Prom Praise at 6.00pm on Sunday 28 June. Let’s bring others and as we praise God, let’s pray that they will know and experience something of God’s love for themselves. 

 
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Charity Number: 1134127

Address: All Saints Parish Church Streetly, Foley Road East, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B74 3JL

Regular Services

  Sunday 8:00 - Said Eucharist
  Sunday 10:00 - Parish Praise 1st Sunday of the Month 
  Sunday 9:30 -  Sung Parish Eucharist 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Sunday of the Month
  Sunday 11:00 - A Service For All Ages 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Sunday of the Month
  Sunday 18:00 - Evening Service
  Tuesday 10:00 - Eucharist
 
As of Sunday 3rd December Pattern of Services will Change to
8.00am Holy Communion
10.00am Parish Family Eucharist
6pm Evening Service 
 
Tuesday 10am Holy Communion
Tuesday-Saturday 8.30am Morning Prayer 
 

Special Events- Dates for your Diary 

CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL 1ST-3RD DECEMBER

Sunday 3rd December 10am Parish Family Eucharist Celebrated by The Bishop of Lichfield

4.30pm Victorian Carol Service

Sunday 10th December 6pm Blue Christmas Service

Sunday 17th December 6pm Community Carol Service

Sunday 24th December 3pm & 5pm Christingle Service

11.30pm Midnight Mass

Monday 25th December 8am Holy Communion

10am Christmas Morning Family Parish Eucharist 


 

 

 




 


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