Spiritual life


– response to the Circuit from St. Andrew’s Church

St. Andrew’s Church had conversations regarding “Revisiting Our Calling” at their Congregational Meeting on Saturday April 14 and during morning worship on Sunday April 15, followed up by an open Leadership Group Meeting on Friday April 20. The congregation participated enthusiastically and enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on what we are doing well, and on new things to consider in enabling growth.

The Leadership Group will continue to reflect on some of the suggestions made, and help the church to discern which might be taken forward next (recognising that with limited resources we can’t do everything that was suggested, and certainly not straight away!).


Some of the things we value and feel should be part of our plans for the future are:

Variety (of preachers and styles, and contrasting style of the evening services) / ambience of the worship area / music & singing (new songs and traditional hymns, and the singing group) / use of projector for words, images and videos / taking part / fellowship / acceptance & welcome / Messy Church

Some of the things we’d like to consider as part of our plans for the future are:

Worship in the round / a mix of different styles and willingness to try new things (e.g. Taizé) / more conversation in groups / use of silence and imagery / testimony and sharing of faith stories by the congregation / Messy Church more often / uplifting new hymns / Café Church / drama / a small group of musicians / children’s service & activities (& pets?) / healing service

Plans for growth for the coming year:

Drawing together some of the comments above, we intend to explore Café Church on a Sunday, in between our Café/Messy Church Saturday sessions. We also intend to offer prayers for healing occasionally as part of communion services, and to explore how we can incorporate more testimony into our worship.




Some of the things we value and feel should be part of our plans for the future are:

Discipleship Groups / Bible Study (joint at West Moor) / Girls Allowed Group / Network / Corner Club / a caring church family

Some of the things we’d like to consider as part of our plans for the future are:

Better publicity for what is already happening (notice boards in halls, information packs, leaflets) / re-emphasis on Discipleship Groups (consider a name change – does it put people off?)

Plans for growth for the coming year:

Since the Discipleship Groups were first created a number of years ago, each one has evolved with a slightly different ethos and emphasis. We intend to celebrate this diversity, and ask each small group to define what is distinctive about it, as well as a new group being set up to focus on Eco Church issues. We hope to come up with a new name for these groups, and then re-launch them at a morning service, and encourage those who are not already in a group to join.



Some of the things we value and feel should be part of our plans for the future are:

Saturday morning coffee mornings (raising money for charities) / involvement with Christians Against Poverty / distribution of flowers / helping in hospital (taking patients to chapel service) / Corner Club (for adults with learning difficulties) / hosting community groups and activities / monthly service in Springfield Park Care Home / film nights / providing practical help to those in need (e.g. food parcels) / Eco Church / Fairtrade / afternoon teas for isolated elderly people / “Tidings” (church magazine distribution)

Some of the things we’d like to consider as part of our plans for the future are:

More advertising for Saturday coffee mornings / Girls Allowed Group attracts women who don’t attend church – what about something for men? / serving tea & coffee to parents who are waiting for their children in mid-week dance classes etc. / knit & natter / mindfulness / exploring possibility of youth work (linked with Longbenton)



Plans for growth for the coming year:

We are exploring the possibility of linking with Longbenton (Balliol Youth & Community Centre), initially to see what needs there might be for youth work in Benton, and, if a viable project can be identified, to work towards finding the resources (including grant funding) to make it happen.

As part of this (and open to other possibilities) we will talk with local councillors, etc., to see what the greatest needs are in our community.

We are also looking into the possibility of some kind of electronic display just inside the church entrance to help with advertising what is going on.



Some of the things we value and feel should be part of our plans for the future are:

Carol singing & offering prayers in the Social Club (and growing links with the club) / Messy Church / welcoming people when they come, not because of what they can do / film nights / Acts of Kindness in the community – Christmas angels, free mince pies at Christmas, free hot cross buns at Easter, etc. / welcome packs / Christingle service in local school

Some of the things we’d like to consider as part of our plans for the future are:

Giving out church flowers – not always to church people (e.g. neighbours who are ill, people with struggles that congregation members are aware of, new neighbours, following up with magazine later) / more evening activities for those who work during the day / building relationships with those who use the building (e.g. being around when groups are meeting, serving drinks to parents whose children are in activities on the premises, handing out invitations to Messy Church, etc.) / Open the Book (Bible storytelling project in schools)

Plans for growth for the coming year:

We intend to go ahead with extending the ministry of church flowers to non-church people. We are also encouraging Discipleship Groups to consider occasional Random Acts of Kindness for users of the building (including the idea above of serving drinks to parents waiting for their children in dance classes etc. – and this has already begun!).




At a joint meeting of church members and the Leadership Group, one of the subjects discussed was the Discipleship Groups. We have agreed to start a new, additional group to which all are welcome, keeping in mind that you can go to as many groups as you like – there are no restrictions.

The new group will start in the summer and will have a specific role looking at the subject of “Caring for God’s World.” It is hoped it will be a practical, hands-on group, not only looking at Eco Church issues within our church family, but also how we can work with the community to improve our neighbourhood.

We will also explore the groups’ names to find an alternative to the name “Discipleship” groups.  Yes, this is what we are about as disciples of Jesus, but the name apparently puts some folk off from joining us, which is a shame – so if you have any suggestions please let us know. We will also be looking at what each individual group does at its meetings and improving our information on each, so that church members and friends have a better idea which group may suit them best.

Love from Moira Simpson.

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