Recovery and renewal – a consultation.

In August 2021, the HHV benefice developed and implemented the first of a two-part consultation into the life of the church and future priorities.

Our mission and worship and discipleship has changed and while Scott is unchanging, we wanted to ask first our regular members and secondly our neighbours how best we can fill our aim

‘to know God and make him known’.

A survey instrument was designed, with input from the ministry team and over two Sundays we distributed paper questionnaires to all attenders and allowed time to complete them within the service. Only adult services were being offered at the time.

115 questionnaires were completed [for visitors and all other were resident worshipers].

The headline findings were:

Sample: all respondents were over 30, 65% were involved actively in the life of the church and enabling regular worship; 35% attended a discipleship group  – prayer and/ or Bible study.

The majority would like to worship every Sunday at the same time and were able to choose an early or later time for that village church. Most were clear which forms of worship were preferred by themselves for themselves and for young families or inquirers. Majority asked to continue weekly online worship

Nearly 50% reported growing in their faith in recent months, but 15% or more requested help with prayer, understanding the Bible or sharing their faith.

Each village identified their own mission priorities; these are now being fed into revised mission action plans, but the vast majority felt supporting young families and the isolated/elderly were top priorities, alongside environmental issues.

As a consequence the church leadership is now

  • formulating a new pattern of worship from 2022 [including Celtic/Taize/Café worship alongside the contemporary communions and morning and evening prayer, with a new midweek traditional communion]
  • re-doubling efforts to provide fresh opportunities for young families to encounter God: Family Service with refreshments and activities, Northdown Farm family outreach events, and a regular meeting for young Christians at Stanchester School
  • Re-establishing our mission to primary schools in terms of collective worship, school services for festivals, Open the Book, pastoral support for teachers and monthly Prayer for Schools.
  • Establishing a Green action group across all villages (HHV Green Future) to progress our churches’ response to the climate emergency, including eco-church audits and a five-year plan towards achieving carbon zero
  • Providing renewed opportunities to encourage discipleship:
    • Daily prayers for the village in all seven churches
    • Lay-led Bible study groups in every village
    • Talking Jesus – a faith sharing course
    • Alpha Courses