Mat’s January Letter

One of the joys of Christmas at St Matthew’s is being part of a church where many, many people give of their time and talents to make it a special time that proclaims the true message of God’s Son Jesus coming to dwell with us. Thank you to all who prayed and helped this year. We are blessed to have so many people who have good ideas and a desire to serve God through their own lives and the life of the church community. This is wonderful. From those who serve coffee and clean the floors through to those who pray to those who act, speak or sing. However, there is also a danger that we can each end up doing our own thing and become spread too thinly. This could dilute our good work as a church community.

We, the Church, operate in two different ways. We are the church when we disperse into our weeks. We are being the church (the body of Christ) at work, at school, in our leisure time, in our homes. We are also the church when we come together to do ‘St Matthew’s’ things. Worship, visiting, hosting Carol Concert’s for schools, leading coffee and chat mornings at Knightstone House, wine tastings, mid week groups, Toddlers etc etc.

Last year the PCC was concerned that our activity together was becoming too disparate and hard to resource. There was a danger that we were asking too much of church members because we were trying to do too many things. The question we asked was; ‘What is God calling us to be and to do?’ Or to put it another way, what should we focus on and what should we stop? Or even better, where is God working and how can we join in? And that is why we have developed three focal areas (see below) and are looking at what that means for our activities.

In the end our purpose is to serve God in the world; how we do that will always feel a little messy. Jesus didn’t speak of the kingdom of God growing like plants for nothing. They don’t grow with neat straight box edges. And neither does the kingdom. The Holy Spirit blows where the Spirit wants John 3:8Open Link in New Window. Our job is to listen, discern where that is and try to keep up. And we pray and believe that the 3 focal areas below are helping us to discern that. So let us keep praying, listening and following.


Focussing our Vision—update

Last Pentecost we held a day of listening to God to try and discern what we should be focussing on for the next period of our life together. After prayer and discernment the PCC honed what we believed we were hearing to 3 focus areas; Discipleship, Children & Youth, Community.

The Knowing, Growing, Going and Building vision delivery teams have taken these foci and re-aligned their activities against them. The results of this exercise are now being collated together so that PCC can make plans for resourcing the next phase of St Matthew’s life under God. We aim to report back to the church at the Annual Meeting on Mon 7th April.

Please do continue to pray for PCC as we seek God’s will for our life together.

Our New Worship Pattern, 1 Church: 3 Expressions.

On Sunday January 12th we begin a new worship pattern. There will be changes at each service.

Our 9am service will be weekly with 2 communions a month on the 2nd and 4th Sunday. This service is quiet, reflective, and will be 45 minutes long. It’s a great way to start a Sabbath day of rest with God.

The 10.30am service will now have weekly All Age Slots at the beginning. We hope that with all ages we will worship more intentionally together.
As usual there will still be teaching in age appropriate groups (children’s youth and adult) and we would like to try coming together at the end of some service’s to share our learning and worship and to pray for one another. We will continue to start together.
There will be one Communion per month on the first Sunday.

Our 6.30pm service will be a place of refreshment and nourishing for the week ahead. It will continue in the hall around tables. There is a development group helping this service to discover its identity.
We will share one communion per month on the 3rd Sunday.

If there is a 5th Sunday then we are planning to have breakfast together, and then share in worship starting at 10.30, which will be communion. The evening service on the 5th Sunday will be a celebration of all God is doing through us and prayer for our ministry as a church. The first 5th Sunday of the year is our weekend away so we won’t follow this pattern then.

These 3 different expressions of worship are designed to reflect our focal areas by enabling all of us to grow in our following of Jesus, giving opportunity for Children and Youth to be more fully part of our worshipping community and helping us to provide more diverse entry points for new people. In essence these changes are to encourage growth in discipleship and numbers.

It may be that you would like to take the opportunity of these changes to try a different service. You never know it might be something that feeds you more effectively than another.

If you have any questions about these please do speak to Mat.

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