A big hello from Amy, Marvin and Pearl!

Thanks to all those who prayed with us as we sought to appoint a children's and family coordinator for the church.  Well, I'm delighted to say that we've been able to appoint two! - Amy and Marvin are working together in the role as a job share, and here they are introducing themselves.  Please continue to pray for them, Pearl and the whole church community. image1

Marvin: likes seeing young people take a lead in worship, anything to do with sport, music, playing guitar, ice-cream and weather that allows him to wear shorts.

Amy: likes seeing young people grow in confidence to pray for others, running, baking cupcakes, sewing, writing about Africa, making old things look new and generally being creative.

Pearl: likes chasing people, food, cuddles, sunflowers and being loud!

We are so happy to be joining the family at St. Christophers.

We, well Marvin and Amy, are starting the job as the Children's, Family and Mission Leader. Pearl at only 13months will be playing her part as our sidekick.

As we start out on this adventure with you all we thought we better tell you a bit about how God has led us to this point. Both of us have always had a passion for working with young people. Marvin started out as a sports coach with Zimbabwe cricket setting up academies for school children. Amy trained as a primary school teacher before deciding to jet off to Zimbabwe to work for a church as their Youth Leader. Over the six years that followed we spent a lot of time working together running youth outreaches, uniting youth work in the city of Mutare, and having the privilege of God using us to reconcile street children with their families. Somewhere amongst all this we realised God had put us together for the long term so we got married in the UK in 2010, turning up only 3 weeks before our wedding. After this we spent one more year in Zimbabwe before coming to the UK, where Marvin worked as the youth leader of St. Michaels Budbrooke and Amy worked with Holy Trinity Coventry and the Cathedral. Then not so long ago our precious Pearl turned up, which led us to go for an extended trip to Zimbabwe to see family and take time to hear from God. And now God has brought us to you.

Please come and ask us lots of questions and we really want to hear all your dreams and hopes for the future of St. Christopher's.

Gift Weekend 2015 - A vision for our future

This letter has been distributed to our congregation over the past couple of weeks. Firstly, thank you so much for your ongoing generosity in supporting the mission and ministry of St Christopher’s Church.

Your generosity supports staff costs, including a full-time vicar, key administrative support, cleaning and maintenance of the church buildings; and helps us sustain a Christian presence in this community, as well as supporting some of the poorer parishes in the city.  To keep us going at this current level, we need to raise additional income year on year.

But we can do so much more!  The PCC has an exciting vision for developing our mission and ministry particularly among children and families, which have been such a key part of our church family for many years.   Children and families’ work has been identified as our main priority going forward and coordinating this work has been a challenge.  To develop this work, we have a vision to appoint a full-time children and families’ worker who will coordinate and support all those who are part of our vital Sunday children’s ministry; support our current church families; build on existing links with the local school communities; and reach out in mission to the families in our community.   This ministry could make an incredible difference to our church and wider community, and secure the future of the church in Allesley Park for generations to come.

To maintain our current work and to achieve this exciting vision, we need to raise an extra £25,000 per year.  With Gift Aid, we would only need 60 people to give an average of £30 per month extra (or 45 people to give £40 per month extra) – spread across our whole congregation this could be as little as an extra £5 per person per week.

To begin to raise this money, we will hold a Gift Weekend on 28-29 March. You can either pop in from 2-4pm on Saturday, when the church will be open for coffee and cake; or bring your pledges to church at the Sunday services. It seems like a big ask, but anything is possible with God! Look out for the Gift Day response forms, which will be available soon.

Thank you for playing such a vital part in our church’s mission and ministry.

God bless

Andy (on behalf of the PCC)

Messy Church … A way to reach out and transform lives outside our church walls?

Why did Messy Church begin?

Fewer and fewer families are coming to church in this country today, Sunday Schools don’t seem to be as effective as they once were; SO, how do we reach families today?

Many churches use special events such as holiday clubs or seasonal events as a way of reaching families, but they run once or twice a year.  If we are serious about the nurture of children we need to work with their whole family, taking whole family with them on their journey of faith.

Messy Church started out of a desire to address this key issue. It began in Hampshire in 2004 and now there are 2021 Messy Churches around the world (and counting!). Messy Church happens usually once a month at a time and date that suits families in the local area. We are trying to base our Messy Church on these well-established values.

 

What are its values?

¬  Christ-centred – Messy Church is a church congregation, not a craft club, that helps people encounter Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

¬  All-age – It is for adults and children to enjoy together - every element should be relevant and accessible to all ages.

¬  Creativity – It uses hands-on activities to explore Bible stories, to reflect a God of creativity and to give people a chance to play.

¬  Hospitality – It reflects a God of unconditional love and is a church for people outside church, providing an oasis of welcome and a safe space in which to thrive. Messy Church is about hospitality, expressed most evidently by eating together.

¬  Celebration – It reflects a God of joy who wants his people to have life in all its fullness.

 

What myths need busting?

¬  It's NOT ... Just for kids. … BUT for all ages to be together.

¬  It's NOT ... Mainly for church families, … BUT primarily for people outside church life. This affects how you do it and when.

¬  It's NOT ... A bridge into "normal" church ... BUT a church congregation in its own right

¬  It's NOT ... Just a social activity ... BUT a way to learn about Jesus.

¬  It's NOT ... a programme, event, … BUT it is church. Messy church has never intended to be a bridge into “proper” church, although we will explore ways of growing disciples within this community. 

 

Why "Messy"??

Jesus was drawn to those whose lives weren’t neat and tidy and so should we be. We want Messy Church to be accessible to those who perceive church to be for people who are "holier than thou", "tidy", “sorted” and “on their best behaviour”.

 

What about Allesley Park and Whoberley?

¬Venue – Whoberley has been identified as having particular needs that our church is not currently addressing, and so the school is the most convenient place for people living there. We want to step into the community, not make them feel like visitors to OUR church.

¬Time –Sunday afternoons seem to be the least busy time for whole families, particularly young families, both those who attend and those who organise the events.

 

SO… How can we make our Messy Church more effective?

¬Invite our friends – This is the most important thing we need. We want to bless our friends! Who cared enough to invite us to church? Take a risk and keep asking!

¬At the events – dig a little deeper, go the extra mile to really get to know those we don’t know, and demonstrate God’s love to them (without scaring people off!)

¬All talents needed! – We need people who can – work technology, be musical, organise food, help set up and tidy away chairs and tables, plan creative ideas, talk to families and welcome them, help on craft tables, offer to help as often as you feel able. Doesn’t matter how old or young you are, whether you have family or not, you can have a part to play!

¬Door knocking – Do you want to reach out enough to personally invite those we have no contacts with? We want to target certain streets with flyers, chocolates and friendly faces.

¬Pray – because we believe prayer makes a difference.