What is Vision 2026?
‘Healthy Churches Transforming Communities’
We desire to make the Good News about Jesus Christ more widely known, because we believe:
- He is the One who brings ‘life in all its fullness’
- Healthy church communities have a positive and transformative impact on our society.
We will work together to achieve this by:
Making disciples of Jesus Christ
- Knowing the Scriptures better through reading, teaching, preaching and study
- Praying with greater depth and urgency for the Kingdom of God to come
- Giving generously of our time, talents and money to the cause of Christ
Being witnesses to Jesus Christ
- Sharing the Gospel of salvation with confidence
- Holding regular enquirers courses in as many local churches as possible
- Showing God’s love in action through projects that meet a local human need
- Offering thorough and accessible Baptism preparation and follow-up
- Planting or renewing 50 new strategic congregations by 2026
Growing leaders for Jesus Christ
- Supporting and equipping the current leadership for today’s context
- Enabling missional leadership in every Christian community
- Liberating lay leadership for greater participation
- Creating the varied patterns of Sunday and weekday worship necessary to welcome all kinds of people, especially the newcomer
Prioritising work among children, young people and schools to raise up a new generation for Christ
New Vision Champion for Christ Church.
- My name is Lynn Farrimond and I will be commissioned on the 20th May, 2019 at Accrington Parish Church.
- I am a regular member of the congregation here at Christ Church, having moved to the area seven years ago, from St. Georges, Tyldesley in the Manchester Diocese. I have served in various church roles for over 50 years. Now retired, I am currently a member of the Parochial Church Council here at Christchurch and help out with Children’s activities, reading lessons and leading prayers at Sunday Worship amongst other things.
- I see my new role being to gently nudge and encourage our parish and Benefice leaders and the congregation to plan and deliver activities that make disciples of Jesus, be witnesses to Jesus, grow leaders and prioritise work among young people.
- At Christ Church under the guidance of Reverend Catherine, we have formed a Worship and Mission Group so that we can focus on developing our Mission and vision for the church and community here in Chatburn.
- We will all need to work together to develop our action plan using our discipleship to the full.
- Over the years Christ Church has been undertaking discipleship and mission in the community and has established strong and close links in the village, with the school, nursing home and with the Methodist Church. A lot has been achieved so far with people’s commitment and dedication over the years.
- We hope to build on this established foundation to enable Christ Church to move forward and become an even more effective church hub in the village and to make sure that our doors remain open in the future. We must also be aware of our commitment to the Diocese and the world-wide church.
- I feel my role is to be an advocate for our vision and mission here in Chatburn, linking with the Vision Champions in our partner churches, ensuring that our local vision is an integral part of the Blackburn Diocese Vision 2026.
- I will not be a high profile figure, but working to support the vision quietly and encouraging people to become disciples and leaders in our Christian community and in line with the Diocese priority for 2019. I hope to keep you informed of our progress over the following months. This is an exciting time in our church life although it is recognised that this can be rather daunting for some people.
- If you have any comments which you would like to make please feel free to do so. I welcome comments that could be fed to the Worship and Mission Group regarding how you see the church helping in our local community and any specific needs, or if you have any feedback on Church Services.
January 2020 Update
Where has January gone? Time goes so quickly.
“Sometimes we have to let our dreams go in order to allow God to bring them back to us in his way and his timing ….”
During January we held an All Age Epiphany Service followed by a Jacobs Join which was a very enjoyable occasion.
On the 12th January the All Age Worship focused on the Baptism of Jesus.
On the 19th January we were welcomed by the Methodist Church to their Covenant Service. The service was very well attended with a very lively talk given by the Reverend Ian Humphreys.
A Covenant Service is held by the Methodists at the start of the New Year when they celebrate all God has done for them and reaffirm that they give their lives and choices to God.
A Covenant prayer is said.
He concentrated on three thoughts :-
• Unity that seeks to work from the grass roots of our hearts.
• Unity that serves together.
• Unity that welcomes and gives thanks.
Reverend Ian set us a task of identifying members of the Royal Family, football managers and religious leaders as part of his talk.
We held a Mission and Worship Meeting in which planning for the outdoor Easter Experience took place. This is at the planning stage, but will involve four stations each built around a location in the church yard. The school will be involved and schoolchildren will be able to make a journey around the stations which will be signposted. Each station will have a narrator to present the story and lead an activity. The stations will be left in a position in the churchyard for the villagers and visitors in Chatburn.
At the meeting we also completed our survey for the Diocese giving feedback on our local progress. The Diocese will then produce a summary for “Bishops Leadership Team” residential in May. They will prepare and then launch the implementation strategy for the next phase in the Autumn. Overall the group felt we had made progress in all areas but there was room for improvement in some.
Our Lent Groups will start at Christ Church on the 3rd March following the Holy Communion Service and at St. Pauls on the 5th March at 7.15pm. The focus of Lent will be the Church of England’s initiative “Care for God’s Creation”. We are asking you to consider signing up for the forty day challenge of reflections sent by email. Come to the discussion groups and you will be provided with a free booklet.
The PCC are now receiving Parish updates sent out by the Diocese fortnightly so they can keep in touch with Diocesan news and events.
The Archdeacon of Lancaster, the Venerable David Picken officially joins the Diocese on the 4th February. His installation service takes place at Blackburn Cathedral at 7.30pm. A warm welcome is extended to everyone from our parishes.
Reverend Jenn Strawbridge has been appointed the new Canon Theologian at Blackburn Cathedral.
The Archbishop of York will be making his final official visit to Blackburn Dioceses on March 26th. An event is being planned in the evening at Blackburn Cathedral. It is suggested that this may be a suitable event for those preparing for Confirmation or new to faith. Anyone can go but space is limited so you will need to book soon.
December has been a hectic month as we prepared for Christmas.
Our All Age Nativity was held on the 8th December and was enjoyed by all who attended. This was an impromptu play performed by adults and children with narration by Reverend Catherine and ad-lib performances by certain members of the cast.
The service of Carols and Readings on the 22nd December was held in candlelight as usual, but minus the church heating system and some lighting as our church electrical supply was disrupted for a few days. You might have seen the digger outside church! I am pleased to say that normal service has resumed due to the efficiency of our supplier and numerous prayers. A younger member of our congregation used his imagination in supplying extra lighting and we were very thankful for his input along with our ever busy church wardens. Thank you.
The Carol service was beautiful and enhanced by music and readings which captured hearts and emotions. It was lovely to welcome new people and visitors into our church and we hope that they may return to other services in the near future.
The Christingle and Crib service for our younger people was very well attended with over 220 people enjoying the event. It was a very well organised service with photographs of the Posada being featured on the large screen. It seems that the newly organised Posada Procession via school has been a tremendous success with updates to progress on Facebook and live feed onto the website. Let us hope that this continues to be annual event. As I have said before it is vital to maintain links with the school, prioritising our work with young people if we are to succeed with Vision 2026 in raising up a new generation for Christ.
Our Midnight Communion Service was very well attended so it looks like this will continue into 2020 subject to PCC agreement.
Our Christmas morning service was also well attended by both our own congregation and our friends from the Methodist Church.
On the first Sunday following Christmas we enjoyed a Morning service with carols. We heard from Reverend Anne Hardacre about the journey Joseph and Mary took with baby Jesus and the slaughter of the infants by Herod. The sermon was very thought provoking and we were asked to consider if in today’s times we would freely accept the Holy family into our community or would we reject them just as many reject asylum seekers and refugees today. Yes the sermon was spot on and certainly gave us "food for thought".
We have certainly been blessed with a variety of services over Advent and the Christmas period creating varied patterns of worship to welcome the newcomer. Thank you to Reverend Catherine for leading us in worship and heading our Worship and Mission Group throughout 2019. Incidentally the next meeting will be held on the 21st January at 7pm in church if anyone is interested in becoming part of the group.
Carolyn Barton Vision Coordinator wrote to me and the other vision champions. She remarked that since her appointment the last five months have been encouraging, in that the number of candidates in our Diocese exploring ordained and licensed vocations had improved.
In early 2020 Carolyn explained that we will be undertaking a simple exercise to enable us to reflect on the past four years of Vision 2026 and see where we are heading for the future based on feedback from parishes.
WATCH THIS SPACE !!
There are various messages from Bishop Julian, Bishop Phillip and Bishop Jill on the Diocesan website and also on You Tube channel from New Year’s Eve onwards.
In February / March 2020 staged at Blackburn Cathedral, our three Bishops will be cast, along with some other members of the Bishop’s Leadership Team, collectively creating an amazing and impactful dramatisation of Mark’s Gospel. Tickets will be available for anyone wishing to attend.
From January 27th to the 29th there will be a residential retreat at Whalley Abbey for ‘Ageing with Grace : Spiritual growth and the Second Half of Life’.
Book via Whalley Abbey on 01254 828400 or email email@example.com.
For those who are interested you can now book the exciting new Springs Dance Company "Green Project" which offers to a short dance theatre presentation to stir up hope and inspire action on climate change.
Contact Springs Dance Company for further details on 07876 752 910.
Spring harvest in 2020 takes place at Harrogate Convention Centre from April 14th to the 18th and can be booked on 01825 769111.
Bishop John Sentamu will be in attendance.
Finally I do hope you all obtained your copies of “Follow the Star” and are enjoying the reflections for twelve days from Christmas Day. I downloaded the Smartphone App and have enjoyed the pre-course reflections and now well into the 12 days of Christmas wonder.
If you have enjoyed this year’s “Follow the Star” journey you may want to travel further in faith in the days and months ahead.
Going to church to celebrate Epiphany is a wonderful way to complete your Christmas journey. This year we will be hosting a special service on the 5th January at 11.00am, to mark the Epiphany season which lasts up to and including the 2nd February which is the feast of Candlemas. Following the service we are having a Jacob’s join lunch celebration, to which everyone is invited.
You can also Explore God in everyday life at “EverydayFaith” a new campaign which starts on the 21st January from the Church of England which offers 21 days of stories, reflections and prayers to help you find God in everyday life.
Find out more and join in via this link “EverydayFaith”
God of wonder,
help us to keep searching,
keep asking and
as we continue on our journey to you.
As we approach a new year,
lead us towards the new things you want in our lives.
Help us to keep going when the way gets hard.
November has been another busy month by way of varied church services and events. A Benefice service for All Souls was well attended and a beautiful reflective time to remember loved ones. Following the service there was an opportunity to share fellowship with our friends across the Benefice.
Our Remembrance service, was preceded by an act of worship around the cenotaph in the churchyard and saw a large number of adults and children in attendance. When in church children were given activities to undertake in their pews and activity bags were given to pre school children. The head boy and girl from Bowland High School attended and laid their own wreath from the school.
Plans for Sunday Club were discussed with parents at an evening meeting and a programme of themes and activities mapped out to Easter. Sunday Club will now meet on the 4th Sunday of the month with an All Age Service being held on the 2nd Sunday of the month. When there is no Sunday Club, clipboard activities will be available in the pew. These will be offered to children as they are welcomed into church by the sides people. The school is involved with organising the Posada procession under the guidance of Joanne Travis Sunday Club coordinator. It is hoped that parents will take photographs of the journey and post on a special face book page and for non-facebookers on the website. Mary and Joseph will then arrive back in church at the Christingle service on Christmas Eve and their journey trail will be shown. This is the first time that this has been organised through school.
A PCC meeting was held in November and it is pleasing to note that the Vision Champion now has a fixed agenda item to discuss our mission and that of Vision 2026. Rather than the PCC concentrate on matters of finance and fabric alone this gives an opportunity for them to discuss faith matters and be brought up to speed with developments in the Deanery and Diocese. This was part of my vision that Christ Church should not remain an isolated parish but share in a wider vision. PCC meetings are now very productive and the team is working well together.
I have written an article for the December/January Village Newsletter regarding the C of E initiative “Follow the Star”. Booklets are now available at the back of church for those who would be interested in some Christmas reflections and prayers. These are free of charge and take in the 12 days of Christmas. Sign up to 12 days of reflections from Christmas Day to Epiphany, emailed or download the app.
There are some Christmas Mission Events with J.John for those interested. J. John is a well known evangelist, speaker and author. He is visiting the Diocese for two mission events at Christmas.”Carols at the Winter Gardens” in Blackpool on Thursday 12th December at the Empress Ballroom at 7.15pm. To book tickets.
Meanwhile “Christmas unwrapped” carol service at Blackburn Cathedral is on Friday 13th December at 7pm. Book Tickets. You are invited to bring friends and family. The cost at both events is £5 for two tickets with the proceeds going to local charities.
“Journeying in Prayer” is a course for anyone who wishes to deepen their experience and knowledge of prayer. To find out more email Patricia Impey or by phone 01254 366170.
A key strand of Vision 2026 is that together we might know the scriptures better. A number of “Digging Deeper days” are planned which will give greater insight and understanding of the scriptures and the whole story of the Bible. The first is to be held at Whalley Abbey on the 7th December the cost is £20. Other dates for the diary are 7th March, July 18th and November 28th 2020. For further information email or phone 01254 828400.
The children’s ministry conference is called “Open the Doors” and explores how we share the Gospel with children currently outside church families. This takes place on February 28/29, 2020 at Barton Grange Hotel in Preston.
I attended an open Deanery Synod meeting along with Daphne Porter at St Leonard’s Church in Langho. Cllr. Sue Bibby current chair of the Ribble Valley Alliance Dementia Action Group spoke about living with Dementia. Her talk was very enlightening and informative. Sue’s non medical description of how Dementia affects people was very well received. I would urge you to look this up on the Alzheimer’s web site. It uses the analogy of a book case in the brain. Discussion and ideas of how we can make our churches Dementia friendly will now be needed.
On the 19th October I attended a Festival of Baptism at Blackburn Cathedral along with Reverend Catherine. The morning events started with a very beautiful Eucharist presided over by Bishop Phillip. Singing and chanting were led by the Young Peoples’ Choir and the setting was Kleine Orgelmesse, by Joesph Hadyn(1732-1809). A small ensemble of cello and two violins accompanied the singing.
Following the Eucharist Bishop Stephen Cotterill of Chelmsford gave the keynote speech. He is a noted speaker being a widely publicised author and speaker. Bishop Stephen did not disappoint, he kept us all enthralled with his take on the meaning of Baptism. He explained that in Baptism and in the waters of the font we are reborn into a new life as we become sharers in the dying and rising of Christ. Bishop Stephen felt we did not make enough about the symbol of water at Baptism and is an advocate for full immersion. Incidentally I believe St James Church in Clitheroe, have full immersion at Baptism. He went on to say that through Baptism we are sent through the Spirit’s power to be God’s people in the world. In this sacrament of life we discover what it is to be human under Christ. We are the heart, eyes, hands and feet of Jesus.
Following lunch I attended two workshops. The first was entitled “adding to number“ and developing the local church around Baptism. Reverend McKee was the workshop leader. The second was entitled “Children of the Heavenly Father” and sprucing up our ministry with children led by Sarah Earnshaw Children’s Work Advisor. Reverend Catherine attended two different workshops and we will need to evaluate if there is anything that we can use here at Christ Church. An afternoon address by Dr. Sandra Millar Head of Life Events for the Church of England was very inspiring.
The day ended with a short service, pilgrimage and a renewal of Baptismal Vows.
We began at the Cathedral door with the Blessing of a Lighted Candle. As the procession followed the candle through the nave we gathered around the Lantern Altar chanting as we journeyed “When Israel was in Egypt’s Land....” with the refrain “ Go down Moses way down in Egypt’s land, Tell old pharaoh to let my people go...”
From there we travelled to the main Altar asking forgiveness and responded to Psalm 46. During the singing of another chant we made our way to the font, where we renewed our vows and affirmed our Profession of Faith. At this point Bishop Phillip made sure that the waters of Baptism reached all gathered around the font.
On reflection it was a great day, very inspirational and a great opportunity to get together with other Christians and enjoy fellowship across the Diocese. I discovered a new meaning of Baptism. It was a day to celebrate God’s call on our lives and a time to reflect on how we use the gift of Baptism to grow healthy churches.
What’s the Point?
Our short course which was based on the booklet by Norman Warren has now finished. I attended St Paul’s Low Moor evening session. It was great to get together with our partner church members and take part in lively discussion and debate. I look forward to a follow up so that we can finish the booklet. There are so many important issues to discuss yet.
Bishop’s Bible Challenge. (Knowing the Scriptures Better)
I have discussed this previously and a number of people have already accepted the challenge. Following the service on Bible Sunday (25th October) a further number of people agreed to take the Challenge which involves studying St John’s Gospel over a six week period. It will be interesting to know how they get on.
September seems to have flown by partly because I was on holiday during the month.
Our meeting with Carolyn Barton, Vision Coordinator at St. Paul's, Low Moor was very enjoyable and informative. It was a lovely to meet with other champions across the Diocese. Some had been in post since the implementation and others like myself had just been appointed. Carolyn discussed what growing parishes actually look like and how the implementation of Vision 2026 is going in our Parishes.
The Three key areas we looked at were:-
- Developing vision.
- Making Disciples, Being Witnesses and Growing Leaders.
- Children and Young people.
To each of these headings we discussed:-
- i) Has anything new been introduced in your parish and what has gone well.
- ii) Have their been any challenges and if so how have they been overcome.
Carolyn told us about the Church Growth Research Programme (2011-2013) which looked into the factors which are influencing church growth in the Church of England and to identify areas of ministry which are growing numerically and to find out why. This is the first time that such a wide ranging and systematic study of factors relating to church growth had been undertaken within the Church of England. The research resulted in the development of a toolkit, “From evidence to Action” based on the eight key factors for growth. These are :
- Clear Mission and Purpose
- Willing to change and adapt
- Leaders, innovate, envision and motivate
- Nurturing disciples
- Actively engaging in the local context
- A welcoming culture and ongoing relationships
- Lay people active in leadership
- Engaging children and young adults
On reflection it was pleasing to report that at Christ Church we now had an Associate Minister in post who had formed a Mission and Worship group. This forum enabled us to undertake an audit of all aspects of worship and our mission here in Chatburn. We now have a Mission Statement which reflects our mission and purpose. At other churches Vision Coordinators were struggling in their role, but it was evident that they had not got the full support of their PCC which is vital for any vision to succeed.
At Christ Church we therefore now have Vision, we are making and encouraging Disciples, we are Being Witnesses, Growing Leaders and prioritising Children and Young People. All these factors will hopefully result in Church Growth.
We reflected on the Vision Champions Role description. It was agreed that although there was an official job description this would vary in every church and that the Vision Champion would need to adopt an approach which would be accepted locally.
All Age Service for Education Sunday was very well attended. We explored The Potter and the Clay theme. The service was interactive being led by Revd. Catherine Hale-Heighway and Mrs Emma Gardiner the Head Teacher. More details can be found in the October Village Newsletter.
On the last Sunday afternoon of the month a Messy Church Service to celebrate St. Michael and All Angels was held. The weather was horrendous but in church we had a very peaceful, exiting, fun afternoon enjoyed by the children who attended with their parents, grandparents / carers. The theme of course was Angels. Some of the photographs of the event can be found on our Messy Church page. It is vital that our ministry with our young people continues to develop. Whilst not forgetting our older church members needs.
In October I am attending a Celebration of Baptism at Blackburn Cathedral and will be involved in two workshops following a Holy Communion Service.
In November I will be attending a Deanery Synod meeting to learn about Dementia Friendly churches.
The holiday club was once again a very enjoyable experience for both the children who attended and the team of helpers. We had a fun packed week which focused not only on entertaining children but helping them to learn about some of the older bible stories and find out for themselves what it means to follow Jesus.
We experienced fun and creative activities where children were able to explore and grow in their faith. It was a time for the children to share their ideas, experiences and build friendships. It is a vital part of Vision 2026 that we continue to provide and prioritise a ministry for children and young people in our community. The week certainly provided an opportunity for those involved and with the support of the P.C.C to explore our own discipleship and witness to Jesus.
Following on from the Lent course the study groups to explore Life’s bigger questions and the issues we all consider have now been arranged starting in October. If you cannot attend in the day then a night session has been arranged at St. Paul’s Low Moor. It is intended that the sessions will be informal and an in depth knowledge of the Bible is not necessary. You may be sceptical about organised religion perhaps unsure about the relevance of the Bible. We hope these sessions will be helpful to you.
Some of the big questions people ask are :-
- Why does God allow suffering?
- Why should I believe in God if I cannot see him?
In September I look forward to meeting with Carolyn Barton our Vision Champion Coordinator and to find out more about my role and share experiences with other Champions from across the Diocese.
On September 8th at 11am we will be holding an All Age Service for Education Sunday. At this service some of our pupils from school will be attending.
For well over a hundred years there has been an annual recognition of Education Sunday in England and Wales. It is a national day for of prayer and celebration for everyone in the world of education.
In 2016 after extensive consultation it was decided to celebrate it on the second Sunday in September at the start of the new school year. Previously it was held on the 9th Sunday before Easter.
Our Sunday Club resumes on the 22nd September and there is a Harvest Messy Church on Sunday 29th September. If your children enjoyed the Holiday Club then they might like to come to one of our Clubs or Messy Churches were the focus is on fun and friendship whilst learning more about Jesus.
Bookings for the 2019/20 Routes of Faith discipleship learning programme are now being taken.
“Routes of Faith” is for anyone who is interested in learning more about their Christian faith. There are six modules, each lasting five or six weeks. The modules are held in different places and on different evenings, so that as many people as possible can attend at least one. Details of dates, tutors and venues, with a programme flyer and application form are on the Diocesan website at http://www.blackburn.anglican.org/routes-of-faith-programme.
For more information contact:
Mandy Stanton Lay Leadership Office/Growing Leaders Team
Email Mandy Stanton or phone 01254 503084
Siobhan Trickett Administrator Making Disciples and Being Witness Team
Email Siobhan Trickett or phone 01254 503272
If you would like to consider being confirmed please contact either Reverend Andy Froud or Reverend Catherine Hale-Heighway in the first instance. At confirmation a person affirms the promises that were made when they were baptised and commits their life to following Jesus Christ. For more information go to https://www.churchofengland.org.
To some extent this has been a quiet month but some progress has been made.
The Baptism Service at Christchurch was well attended and the Picnic in the churchyard was a very sociable and enjoyable event. Once again we were blessed with good weather. The children re enacted a modern day version of The Good Samaritan parable and Reverend Catherine demonstrated how Baptism is undertaken.
This links in with the Diocese Festival of baptism on the 19th October were a celebration of the gift of Baptism with a festival of worship, prayer and teaching will take place. The keynote speaker will be Bishop Stephen Cottrell who is an outstanding teacher and communicator. Some really good workshops are lined up as well. If you wish to book a place or find out more information contact Jean Duerden : firstname.lastname@example.org
At our Worship and Mission Group meeting we began to look at our strengths and where improvement is needed. The Healthy Churches Transforming Communities Mission/Vision Action Plan was used as a guide. (MAP) for short. The group is still working through this action plan but some practical suggestions for improvement were agreed by the group subject to PCC approval.
- Reinstatement of prayer chain
- Study group to look at life’s “big questions”
- Possible quiet day for our Benefice PCC teams.
- Improving our pastoral care network
- Developing links with our newly reopened library
The new Vision Champion Coordinator Carolyn Barton is hosting a gathering of champions at St. Paul’s Church Low Moor on the 26th September at 2pm. This will be one of twelve such meetings held across the Diocese during the autumn. Carolyn and the champions will be reviewing what has gone well in the past three years since implementation of Vision 2026 and what has been challenging and how solutions to the challenges have been found. The role of the Vision Champion will be reviewed and the support which is available to champions will be explained. I am looking forward to meeting other Vision Champions across the Diocese and to sharing and discussing our ideas about implementing Vision 2026.
Our holiday club begins 04/08/2019 in the Methodist Chapel. I am very much looking forward to this very important mission in our village and church life. It is a privilege to work with our younger members and share a varied programme of activities over the week.
- Well it’s official, we have our Mission Statement.
Growing Together in Faith and Sharing God’s Love with Everyone.
- It is felt that this reflects our vision and purpose here at Christchurch and links in with Vision 2026. To help the Worship and Mission Group the Blackburn Diocesan Healthy Church Assessment Audit Tool was used to guide discussion and help the group focus. The audit identified six qualities which are considered to make a church healthy. These qualities are Worship, Vision, Strong sense of Community, Outward looking focus, Leadership and Discipleship. Evidence of progress in all areas was noted and over the coming months an action plan will be developed setting out our priorities .We would also like to gain views from our community regarding our church.
- I was commissioned at St John’s Church in Accrington where Bishop Julian launched his Bible Challenge. He explained that at the heart of Vision 2026 is the call to make disciples and this involves a better understanding of scripture. One way to grow is to read the bible regularly and to learn key verses of scripture from which we can draw guidance and inspiration. Bible study booklets will be available shortly and it is our aim to run a bible study group in the near future following on from our Lenten study which proved very enjoyable.
- During the ten days from Ascension to Pentecost we joined the global wave of prayer ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and used Novena booklets which through art and prayer explored the dual message of love and challenge in our lives. Our school children were given a Family Adventure Map to follow. On Whitsunday our school children led the All Age service. In July we are holding a special thanksgiving service for those baptised in our church and those who are part of our church family. A Picnic will follow.
- Whalley Abbey is to become the new Centre for Prayer and Discipleship from the beginning of 2020. There will be a greatly enhanced programme of retreats and events that will help people of all ages grow in faith and confidence. We are being encouraged to see the Abbey as a gift to treasure and a resource to enjoy. It would make an ideal place for a parish or team away day and we will need to explore how we at Christchurch and in our Benefice can use this in the future. Why not consider a prayer walk around the ruins at the Abbey. A leaflet has been designed by Archdeacon Mark Ireland to help you reflect and pray as you wander around (available on site).
- Continuing our work with children, a meeting of those involved with Sunday Club has now taken place. This proved to be a very positive meeting which was well attended by leaders and parents. It has been decided to hold one Sunday Club per month and one All Age Service from September onwards with the addition of Messy Church Services. During the service when there is no Sunday Club an activity will be available for children to undertake in the pew. During school holidays there will be no Sunday Club.
- Planning for the Children’s Holiday Club is reaching its final stages and those involved are looking forward to working with our young people once again. It is an important opportunity to listen to the voice of younger people and to share time together.
- On the 24 th June I was invited along with other Vision Champions and representatives from other churches to the Bishop’s House at Ribchester to listen to Dr. Elaine Storkey’s lecture on ‘ Is Christianity Dying in the West’. The lecture was preceded by a BBQ supper.
- ‘For the last forty years the statistics have reflected an accelerating crisis in church life and we are faced with a serious possibility/ likelihood that even the Christian Faith might disappear entirely from our culture within the first half of the century’. Elaine has taken a hard look at the facts that may support or dispute this claim by renowned theological and spiritual author John Drane.
- Although it might be argued that whilst some traditional forms of church going are in decline this does not mean that Christianity is itself dying out. Some of the facts were depressing to say the least. People who attend church once per month are now classed as regular worshippers. Another interesting fact was about people who were brought up in the church but now had no contact. When asked why they didn’t now attend church, they said they had never been asked.
- We are all asked to re-consider what church really means and what we need to do to ensure that today’s followers of Jesus continue to fulfil the Great Commission to ‘Go out and make disciples of all nations’.
- Bishop Julian concluded that we must not be complacent and should continue to work for and support Vision 2026 and the challenges it sets if we want our churches and Christianity to survive.
- At the supper there was an opportunity to meet with Carolyn Barton our new Vision Champion Coordinator. It was her first day in her new role. She is hoping to meet with us all probably on a Deanery basis initially.
This month has been extremely busy culminating in my commissioning at St John’s Church Accrington.
- Our All Age Service proved very entertaining with lots of fun, sheep hunting around church. Sunday club has continued to help children understand the gospel stories in a very relaxed and supportive environment.
- Messy Church took up the theme of Rogation and the crafts, story time and food proved as popular as ever. It is very important that we all continue to encourage children and their parents or carers to attend church activities and involve them in faith activities. Further events in June and July will see children taking part in our Pentecost service and an invitation to a Celebration of Baptism followed by a Picnic in July will be sent out. These events have been planned to further our community involvement and work with children and families.
- A meeting has been held with Helen Potts a Children’s worker from St James Church, Clitheroe to share her experience of running Messy Sports Events.The meeting was very positive and ideas of how this might take shape were discussed. It is hoped to run an event in 2020 to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics.
- The PCC meets on 4th June and it is hoped that they will approve the Mission Statement drafted by the Worship and Mission Group.
- Bishop Julian launched his Bible Challenge at the Primary Visitation in Accrington. This is a creative approach to encourage children and adults to read the Bible regularly. At the heart of Vision 2026 lies the call for Christians to be first and foremost disciples of Christ. This involves a better understanding and knowledge of scripture. A booklet has been produced by the Diocese and can be used individually over a six week period to remind us afresh of the richness of the Bible and its centrality and importance in the life of Christians. These books will be at the back of church. We will be considering bible study sessions and their likely format in the near future to build on the well attended Lent course and to meet Bishop Julian’s Bible Challenge.
- Many resources are available either on line or Apps.
- The Church of England Daily Prayer App at ........ https://www.aimermedia.com/app/dailyprayer and
- accompanying reflections at....................... https://www.chpublishing.co.uk/features/reflections
- The Bible in one Year can be found at............. https://www.bibleinoneyear.org
- If you would like further advice or help call Ruth Hassall Director of Discipleship at The Diocesan Offices on 01254 503277, or email Ruth Hassall
- Thy Kingdom Come is the title of a worldwide prayer movement between Ascension and Pentecost. “Churches together” in Lancashire held a launch service on Wednesday 29th May at Crossgate Church in Preston. A concluding Beacon service will be held in Blackburn Cathedral on the 9th June.
- The Pathways to Prayer held at Whalley Abbey was a wonderful opportunity to get together with other people seeking to explore new perspectives on patterns and styles of prayer, contemplation and meditation. The course was delivered through a diverse range of workshops.
- The workshops were preceded by an act of worship led by Ruth Hassall.
- Bishop Philip then gave a very inspirational talk on the power of prayer.
- He reassured us that God knows better than us, he knows already what is in our hearts and therefore answers our prayers in a better way than we know how .It may not always turn out the way we thought it may be.
- He concluded with thoughts on Vision 2026. Who would have thought that the Blackburn Diocese would have been starting new churches and bringing in more clergy. All this he said is because of vision and the power of prayer.
- My chosen workshops were Praying with Children lead by Sarah Earnshaw and Praying with Icons led by Brenda Harding. The first was chosen because I thought it would give some new ideas for our Sunday Club and Holiday Club. The second was chosen because it was completely new area to explore and at Christ Church we will be exploring different ways of praying as part of our Mission.
- Brenda gave a brief history about icons and how they were made. For the less artistic among us this was very enlightening.
- We then sat in silence and studied The Holy Trinity Icon, by Russian painter Andrei Rublev.
- It was very interesting and moving to experience the use of an icon for praying and in such a beautiful chapel setting.
- If you are interested in attending any future workshops, which are free, there are some more coming up.
- Saturday 6th July at St. Oswald’s, Preesall with Archdeacon Mark,
- Saturday 21st September at St Ambrose, Leyland, with Bishop Julian and
- Saturday 19th October at Xaverian Spirituality Centre Preston, with Bishop Jill.
- The Worship and Mission Group have been very busy in April under taking an audit based on the Blackburn Healthy Church Assessment Audit tool and developing a Mission Statement for Christ Church.
- This has proved very interesting, the results of which will be published once the PCC have had time to discuss the findings
- We are still interested in gaining feedback from the community and if there is anything you would like to contribute about church life, our services or how we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us via the feed back button below.
A new Vision 2026 Coordinator Mrs. Carolyn Barton has been appointed. Carolyn will officially start on June 24th. She is currently working on a project in Carlisle and is married to the Vicar of St Lawrence with St Paul, Longridge. Carolyn along with Dave Champness will be supporting Vision Champions across the Diocese and ensuring the implementation of Vision 2026.
- The Worship and Mission Group has met twice. We are currently looking at developing a Mission Statement to describe our purpose and vision for the future. It was agreed that this should be short, memorable and actionable.
- We were introduced to the Blackburn Dioceses Healthy Church Audit which we hope to complete at a future meeting. This should give us a starting point to analyse where change is needed. Our diocese has combined a lot of past research and has identified six qualities which make a church healthy. These qualities are Worship, Vision, Strong sense of Community, Outward looking focus, Leadership and Discipleship. This is a quick tool to enable a group to arrive at an indication of how healthy various areas of church life are. If you would like to complete one and give us feedback please use the link below.
- Lent courses are in progress based on the themes of Generosity, Gift and Grace.
- A small group of us visited the Christian Resources Exhibition at Event City in Manchester. We were able to attend seminars and explore the various resources for use with children and adults. We hope to use some of the ideas in the future.
- We are committed to attending the course Pathways to Prayer at Whalley Abbey. One of the priorities within Vision 2026 is the call to make Disciples of Jesus Christ.
- A key priority within that theme is that churches and individuals commit themselves to praying with greater depth and urgency for the Kingdom of God to come, whether in our homes, our workplaces, the communities where we live, or in the wider world. With this in mind the course will explore fresh perspectives on patterns of and styles of prayer, contemplation and meditation. Some of these have already been undertaken here at Christ Church for example prayer walking and All Age interactive prayer.
- All Age Services which are more child friendly and interactive with songs which the children sing at school are now held.