Our vision

Our vision is for our church community to be place of <span style="font-size: 1rem;">vibrant Christian faith, connecting with our local </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">community, and supported by collaborative sustainable ways of working together.  Here we outline our </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">five priorities to bring this vision alive in all our church. </span>

Drawing children and young people into the life of our <span style="font-size: 1rem;">church communities.  </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">There is no doubt that children are a priority for Jesus: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”’  </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">(Matthew 19:14) </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">As a church community, we are already working in our schools: St Mary’s CofE Primary School and Sir William Romney; and this will continue and grow. Over time we are getting </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">better at inviting children and young families into our </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">worshipping communities where they can draw closer to Christ and grow in faith.  </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">We are looking at every aspect of our church life and ask how it can be more “child friendly”; and ask what we can learn from other churches and organisations about engaging with children and young families.</span>

2. Finding more effective ways to communicate.  <span style="font-size: 1rem;">Jesus is clear he wants us to communicate well: ‘“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.”’ (Luke 11:33).  </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">We are looking at our communications both within and </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">between our church community, and with the wider </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">community so people know who we are, what we are doing and how to join in. </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">This work will include looking at the image we present, and what we want to communicate about ourselves, as well as the practicalities of effective communication: what we do now and what we can learn from other churches and organisations.</span>

3. Growing disciples. <span style="font-size: 1rem;">Peter’s second letter describes our “precious faith” and says: “May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2).  </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">We now offer ways for people to grow as disciples of Christ —to learn more about faith and to share our experiences. We will continue to explore ways to extend this invitation, drawing others into relationship with God. This includes opportunities for enquirers to ask about our faith; more opportunities for learning and sharing together; and ways of enriching our </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">worship.</span>

4.  Providing loving pastoral care within our <span style="font-size: 1rem;">local communities.  </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">Jesus says we are blessed when we care for those who are </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">hungry and thirsty, lonely and sick, in need and in prison (Matthew 25: 34-36).  </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">Many people in our churches are already involved in visiting and supporting people in their community. We will asking: what is going on in each of our church communities and what can we learn from each other; where are needs not met and how can we respond; how can we invite other people to get involved; and how can we celebrate and better support everyone </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">involved in pastoral care?</span>

5.  Finding imaginative ways to use our buildings so they become / continue as a hub for our local communities.  <span style="font-size: 1rem;">Jesus commands us to love one another as he loves us </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">(John 13:34).  </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">Using our building as a community space is a loving act: it </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">provides opportunities for people to get to know one another, and builds relationships in our community. And we hope it makes our churches a place where people feel welcome and at home – and so more likely to come back!  </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">We continue to explore to make our beautiful church building welcoming and accessible, providing opportunities to use this space in creative ways.</span>