Bleadon Church 2019

 

We have previously articulated it’s vision as to

“Connect, Interact and Encourage,” seeking to live these key actions in our relationship with God, with the wider community and with each other as we journey forward as a church.

Lord Jesus Christ, you connect with us, interact with us and encourage us.

Help us to be more like you and be your blessing ever more fully in this place. Amen.

 

This year we have been looking and listening to help us live our vision better.

This leaflet gives a summary of what we have found.

Summary of the work of our Listening Team:    

Earlier this year our Listening team had conversations with a planned selection of members of our church. This deliberately included some people who get to church a lot and others who come much less often.

  • Interviews were really well received and people were pleased to be given the opportunity to be listened to and express their opinions.
  • It engaged a mix of people involving Lay people in a positive way.
  • The process built IDENTITY and also highlighted the need to include Bleadon Hill residents who may not feel part of our parish.
  • In worship a sense of unity is important e.g. Reflective Communion
  • We are a very supportive church family with a loving core but others/newcomers may find it difficult to break into this ‘core’.
  • People experience God’s presence in the building in a very special way (A thin place).
  • People’s profound experience of worship was most often mentioned at funerals and through music.
  • At points of disagreement it was noticed that we generally discuss and listen well but also that in the past disagreements have caused people to leave.
  • Sunday Tea-time and connections with the community were mentioned as hopes for the future.
  • An ageing congregation and lack of families was highlighted by some people as a concern.
  • We were most often described as a friendly, welcoming but elderly church. But at times it was noted that people hadn’t felt welcomed and were possibly scared of strangers/change?
  • There was little nurturing of new people.
  • It was noticed that lots of us spend lots of time on church ‘jobs’ but contemplative time is also important.
  • The local community was seen as less sociable is the last 3-5 years, but also new inclusive and friendly activities e.g. Out to lunch, Sunday Tea-time etc give a sense of ‘church without walls’.

Some questions to consider

  1. How do we listen to people who find it difficult to express themselves?
  2. How do we encourage people who feel their faith is just a personal, private thing?

Summary of our TIMELINE Event

on Sunday 12th May 2019

From the event we have learnt the following:       

  • There was a good turnout and people were willing to engage.
  • The process of lay people leading the event was welcomed  (a breath of fresh air!)
  • Some comments gave a feeling of excitement and hope.
  • There were fond memories of worshipping in the Church Room being a less formal setting (perhaps frees people up?)
  • The Church has a special significance to individuals when recalling personal events in their life.
  • Recently there seems to be a more loving atmosphere.
  • Special events such as the Crib Service are very precious to people.
  • Identity is important i.e. how the church is perceived by the other people in the parish.
  • Mentions of disagreements resulting in people leaving seem to be a thing of the past, hopefully we are now better at resolving differences of opinion. But has this left any legacies that need to be healed?
  • There was a sadness of declining numbers and an ageing congregation balanced by the hope that new people were joining and there was a vision for mission.

Some questions to consider

  1. How can we vary the way we do church to attract new people?
  2. How can we share the ‘loving atmosphere’ to the wider community?

Summary of our Data Collection exercise:

From the exercise we have learnt the following:      

  • 64% of the people in the parish are aged between 45 and 84 including:    22% aged 45-59,    12% aged 60-64,  30% aged 65-84

25% of people of all ages in the parish live alone.

It is estimated that on an average day 30-40 people walk through the churchyard and the church is in the heart of the village.

In 2011, in the parish, 73% of people describe themselves as ‘Christian’.

Approx. 90% of residential property in the parish is owner-occupied.

95% of all people in the parish described their health as fair, good or very good!

99% of the population have English as their main language.

96% were born in the UK.

91% of households have access to at least one car.

Of those people working, 65% worked a minimum of 31 hours each week.

Some questions to consider

  1. Does the age profile of the church reflect that of the parish?
  2. What impression do we give to the passing ‘traffic’ outside our church buildings?
  3. What groups of people may need the church’s support and how could we provide support?
  4. How might the populations work patterns affect how the church could provide services for everyone?