Worship Action Group
The remit of the WAGs is to develop worship, nurture & prayer in line with the church’s mission statement: growing up, growing together, growing out & growing more.
Over the past year, we have looked to nurture faith through bible study groups, a lent course, and Advent compline. The Lent course used a 4-session study on Luke’s parables, and, even though the material was ‘entry level’ in content, all groups did really well to shape it to suit their membership. Advent Compline looked at the stories contained within the church’s stained glass windows. Mike & Maggie did a great job of unpacking the history & theology of the windows. Nurture is also at the core of confirmation preparation; some of our 20 candidates were prepared in groups but many were prepared one-to-one.
Prayer enables the life of God to inhabit the people of God, individually & corporately. During 2012, we ran two Days of Prayer: in April and in October. Motivating 24 people to spend 15 minutes in prayer over the course of a day has, I believe, fuelled our growth. Added to this, we produced a ‘Summer Prayer Project’ card, encouraging people to pray for the local streets over the summer holidays. Some members commented that they now look at their neighbours through prayerful eyes! We also run a Lenten overnight retreat at the Sisters of Jesus Way. This is a valued time of spiritual refreshment for attendees.
Archbishop Temple said: “The church is the only club that exists for the benefit of its non-members!” This underpins most of our discussions about our church worship. We are continually looking for uncomplicated ways of making our services more accessible to the newcomer and the outsider. Of course, there are also ‘fresh expressions’ of church like Bitesize at the hall. This ‘café style’ worship has proved very popular, especially if preceded by a youth workshop. In addition, the launch of Messy Church in November attracted a (mostly) new clientele. The Mottrams did a great job of making it truly messy & fun!
The choir attracted some new choristers during December. We’re praying that they will continue! During lent, we are joining Christchurch for evensong. This is always a lovely occasion for both congregations.
We are looking to nurture the listening skills of the congregation (to God and to others), to provide a Listening & Counselling Referral service to the community. The past couple of years have seen a big rise in cases of stress, depression, debt, relationship breakdown & bereavement issues, with a consequent increase in the demand for help from the church. We aim to be better prepared to meet this demand.