St Mark’s, Newnham: Mission Action Plan 2015-18

Background

St Mark’s Mission Statement, dates from the Millennium: ‘To be the people of God in this place, and to work to make God more real for our community.’ Mission Action Plans, which adopted every three years, give us specific goals by which to evaluate our life and development in a review carried out by the PCC each year. This is the third Mission Action Plan that St Mark’s has adopted. The first (2009) stated the aspiration that our church should be:

1) A church which nurtures thoughtful discipleship

2) A church which offers hospitality to its congregation and local community

3) A church which conducts mission through drama and other arts

4) A church which develops its members’ talents, and remains open to God’s surprises


The second (2012) set out goals structured by the ‘Five Marks of Mission’:

1) Telling the Gospel
2)
Teaching and nurturing people in the faith
3)
Tending the local community’s needs, especially those of the vulnerable
4)
Transforming unjust structures in society
5)
Treasuring Creation

We want this vision, and all that our previous plans have achieved, to remain integral to the life of the church as we go forward with a new plan. Also integral to the life of St Mark’s is our active partnership with the parishes of Trumpington and Grantchester, which we wish to see go forward into even greater depth in the future, to the benefit of all three parishes.

Our New Plan

Our plan for 2015-18 is focussed around the Diocese of Ely’s 2014 Vision Statement: ‘’We pray to be generous and visible people of Jesus Christ’. It has three main headings:

1) Being Generous in our engagement with the needs of the communities to which we belong, both locally and globally
2) Being Visible as a church which finds and makes disciples and nurtures a broad-based leadership)
3) Being People of Jesus Christ with a deepening commitment to him through prayer, word and worship

Basic Requirements

As well as needing the Holy Spirit’s continual help, our planning is dependent on other important factors: having the people in the church with appropriate gifts and energy to bring to reality the things we hope to see, a having enough material resources, and having appropriate structures. We intend to go out of our way to help people of different ages and states of life engage with our plan, and to play the part God calls them to in achieving its outcomes, even if this entails new ways of doing things. We shall also engage in faithful and regular prayer for God to send us people with particular gifts which we currently need. We will also continue to ask for generous giving of money from those who worship with us regularly. It will be our aim over the next three years to reduce the church’s deficit significantly, mainly by planned giving, regularly reviewed, but also by imaginative fundraising with the added dimensions of outreach and community-building. We also plan to reconfigure some of our working-groups/committees of the PCC, and free-up energy and time for our aims.(2015, PCC)

The specific aims of our New Plan

  1. Being Generous in our engagement with the needs of the communities to which we belong, both locally and globally:

The great amount we already do requires better communication. We plan to:

  • introduce a monthly, attractive and comprehensive ’what’s on’ calendar (additional to our calendar of worship), widely available to the church and wider community in four formats; a separate give-away flyer; in Seek, on our website, and on notices around the parish. Flyers will be handed out to those leaving services, and thought will be given to the layout of the narthex so that those leaving worship may be encouraged both to take flyers and to see the notice boards of events WE shall ensure that Seek is available accessibly and obviously on our website (2015, Churchwarden and administrator)

  • seek volunteers to keep our display boards on the street, in the narthex and in the Community Centre, up to date and inviting. (2015, Vicar and Churchwardens to find)

  • pray corporately for the leaders we need, and intentionally look out for participants in our activities who might be nurtured into sharing the leadership. (2015 Prayer: - Vicar, intercessors, and then whoever takes over producing prayer notes for pew sheet. Looking out: everybody.)

New ideas for enhancing community engagement . We plan to:

  • create a transport list, of those willing to bring people to different events, and finding someone to manage it (2015, Visitors’ group)

  • re-establish parish outings, including ones attractive to families (2015,Sue Payne and Wagners)

  • experiment with holding coffee mornings in the new lobby of the Community Centre and a parish lunches with speakers (2015, Social Committee)

  • install Wi-fi in our Community Centre and make it accessible to all users, advertising our church website prominently at the same time (2015, Community Centre Committee, Treasurer, Administrator)

  • ensure recent news from our link Diocese of Gombe is available on our web-site ( 2015, Charities’ Committee, Andrew Watts, Administrator)

  1. Being visible as a church which finds and makes disciples, and nurtures a broad –based leadership. We aim to:

  • encourage church members to join the diocesan discipleship course, which may lead, for some of them, to continuing into the course for Authorised Lay Ministry of various kinds (2016, PCC and pastoral team)

  • lay-on parochial and partnership discipleship courses, both for church members and for those coming into membership, and explore the potential of the new C of E Pilgrim Course for this purpose (2015, Children’s Worker, and re-vamped Education and Discipleship Group)

  • experiment with holding meetings at which faith is discussed in the Red Bull, and also encourage church members in involvement in other activities there and at the Newnham Social and Sports Club, including corporately where possible (eg. St Mark’s pub quiz teams, for example ) (2015/16 Re-vamped Education and Discipleship Group)

  • investigate offering hospitality once again to a (non-church) Newnham Youth Club/Group (2015/16, Gill Kelly, Youth and Children’s Committee, Community Centre Committee, PCC)


  • investigate re-instituting and taking a lead in staging the Newnham Nativity in the street before Christmas
    (2015 or 2016, Arts and Events and Open the Book Team)

  1. Being people of Jesus Christ with deepening commitment to him through prayer, word and worship

Prayer: we plan to

  • revise guidance and give training in conducting intercessions, and encourage those leading intercessions to contribute to ‘For your prayers’ section of pew sheet, not to forget the church’s prayer needs (stated above), and to feel confident enough to incorporate more silence (2015, Vicar, Administrator).

  • offer courses of Guided Meditation at appropriate times and offer short courses on personal prayer – both for ‘starters’ and for those who wish to deepen their experience of prayer. (2016/17, Vicar and pastoral team)

  1. Word: we aim to

  • print the references to the following Sunday’s readings on the pew sheet, so that people may use them in preparing reflectively for worship, either alone or in groups. (2015, Administrator)

  • investigate cost and feasibility of having a number of bibles available in the pews, as wella s readings printed on pew sheets (2015, PCC)

  • be actively open to the possibility of new regular groups being formed for Bible Study, continuing discipleship and evangelism including groups for specific sections of our demographic spread (eg. Men’s breakfasts, Dads’ and kids’ groups) (2015-18)

  • advertise existing groups better, with occasional flyers describing them and inviting new members (2015, Group leaders and members, and Administrator)

  • offer the opportunity during coffee time on Sunday of discussing the sermon (and possibly offering feedback to the preacher) (2015, Education and Discipleship group, and preachers)

  • remain alert to the needs of older teenagers, not catered for currently in existing groups, and pray for leaders for this element of youth work, and nurture our younger teenagers with a view to their remaining with us as a group into older teenage years. Investigate the possibility of a teenage bible reflection group during the 10 am service, using the CC lobby, and serving hot chocolate and doughnuts. (2015-18, Children and Youth Committee, Vicar, Intercessors)



  1. Worship: We plan to

  • purchase new hymnbooks with a greater range of hymn and songs in them, including more contemporary ones, and shall ensure that when new things are introduced, the congregation has a chance to practise them aided by the choir (2016/17 New vicar in consultation with organist, choir director, Gallery Band leaders, and interested members of congregation)

  • investigate the possibility of installing a projection screen permanently in church, to display the words of hymns/songs which are not available in our (new) hymnbooks, but also to display material to enhance meditation, drama and teaching (2016, Arts and Events, Worship Committee, PCC)

  • encourage more mingling of different sections of our congregations, especially during the 10 am services (2015-17, Vicar, Worship Committee)

  • investigate the possibility of improvements both to our sound system (audibility) (2015) and lighting (2017) in church (PCC)

  • experiment with holding ‘Meditative Eucharists’ at appropriate times and seasons (eg. in Holy Week), in which short non-biblical readings (eg. poems) may be used alongside the Gospel, and an extended period of silence (eg. 10 minutes) offered (2015-17, clergy and Worship Committee)

  • keep under review the length of our services and the different elements in them, aiming for appropriate balance between thoughtful preaching, heartfelt worship and prayer, communication about church life , and the needs of people who have young children and other constraints on the time they can be in the service (2015, Worship Committee and clergy)



It is our aim to review progress with this plan annually in the last PCC of each year, and to work towards a new plan to commence in early 2018.