mission shaped church
In 2001 it was decided to work towards beginning a midweek
church in the parish. This became a reality after a Church
Army Captain, David Scurr, joined the team. Together with the
team vicar, Moira Astin, in February 2003 he started a service
on Wednesday at 4.00 p.m. in the parish church, called `The
Link'. From the start it aimed to be `church', hoping in time
to get representation on the PCC and to administer the
sacraments of baptism and communion.
People were invited for coffee and a tuck shop from 3.30 p.m.
and the service ended at 4.30 p.m. After three months about
20 people were regularly attending, of whom about half did
not attend any other service in the week.
Another strand is the use of Church schools to start new congregations,
which meet on the premises. School based worship events become
`church' for pupils and parents. This is perhaps easier to develop at primary
than at secondary level, by which time teenagers are less keen on parental
attendance and also parents are not naturally in and out of the school as
is the case at the primary stage.
A story: Appley Bridge, Lancashire
At All Saints Primary, Appley Bridge, in Lancashire, the
Revd Ian Dewar has experimented with using the format
of Common Worship in collective worship.
The guiding principle behind what we are trying to achieve
at All Saints (church and school) is that of liturgical formation.
We have begun to establish a pattern of worship which links
church and school together. Every Thursday at 9.15 the
school meets in the adjacent church for a midweek service,
which follows the Common Worship pattern. After this the
children return to school and any adults who wish to stay for
Holy Communion remain in church. A similar Service of the
Word is held in church on the morning of the third Sunday of
the month. This pattern is followed for major events in school
where a large number of parents and other relatives who may
not otherwise be present are in attendance such as end
of term services and the leavers' service.
What this has achieved is to make church familiar to parents
and children, even if they do not come to worship on a regular
basis. The link between school and church also challenges