I don’t usually come away from Diocesan Synod feeling particularly inspired, although we nearly always do some form of useful and important business. But today was rather different. We had the testimony of three very different church projects around the diocese, each in their own way telling a tale of growth and community outreach.
The vicar of Salcombe talked about how his mission community had recently launched a new monastic community for the 21st century, using a redundant vicarage as its base, with three young people working and praying in the local area.
From deep in rural North Devon came news of Saturday church, a specific outreach to children in a church which 9 years ago had no children. The lady who shared the story pulled no punches about some of the struggles along the way, including opposition from those within the church who resisted the changes. But now there is a viable and established work in the village hall, which is also drawing in the elderly and the adults.
Then the vicar of St Mary’s Magdalene, right in the heart of Torquay, talked about the Living Rooms project started in 2011 to offer hospitality to the many in the town who are living on the edges of society, suffering from addiction, homelessness etc. Through this work 31 people have been baptised and the church has more than doubled in size.
All the speakers stressed the importance of prayer, and made it clear that their work was not necessarily a model for others to follow.
But as they spoke, I could not help being reminded of something that’s been on my heart for some time. What is God’s vision for our work here at St Michael’s and St Barnabas?
That’s why over the coming few weeks I am going to encourage every church member to come to our Church Away Day at Marjons on Saturday 5th November where Barry Dugmore, the Diocesan Mission Enabler, will be helping us to see the big picture of what God wants to do in and through us as a church.
Please be there – and let’s be eager and ready to do serious business with the Lord as we listen to what He says.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9)