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4th December 2022

Dear Church Family,

 

I’m excited about Christmas. In church life this is a busy season, but it’s also a great opportunity to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ to a world that is looking for hope as we face many challenges in our society. All churches are looking to grow, but for us there is the imperative to do so as we seek to become a sustainable/viable community of faith. So let’s make use of this opportunity to it’s full potential by inviting our friends, neighbours, colleagues and loved ones to come and hear the Good News. (it helps that church looks pretty!)

 

At our Christmas Services this year we will be promoting the Alpha Course starting in January, which is a great opportunity for the spiritually curious to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed no-pressure environment. The course itself will start on Tues Jan 10th at 7.15pm in the Parish Centre. Please do be praying for the course, and also anyone you think you may want to invite along to a Christmas Service or to the course itself.

 

Something to be aware of is that our services in December are not at the normal times because of the public facing Christmas events. I’ve put the service times and locations below so that you can know when and where to go to join in our worship.

 

As I’ve mentioned in previous messages, our intention is to move to 2 services each Sunday starting in January. So there’ll be a single 10am Service on the first Sunday, and then a 9am Traditional Service (liturgical and reflective) and an 11am Contemporary Service (informal and family-focussed) over the remaining 3 Sundays.  We’re doing this because we believe it will lead to growth of the church family. This month we saw 75 Adults and 8 Children come on the Sunday where we ran the 9am Eucharist and #AllTogetherAt11 services. That’s the highest number we’ve had this year – and we hope that the momentum of slow steady growth will continue.

 

As part of this I want to invite you to participate in something we’re calling “A Season of Invitation”. As we move back down to the church with a renewed sense of vision and purpose, a new worship pattern and a new commitment to growth, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to invite people we know to come and experience church, and encounter Jesus. Recent statistics tell us, much against our impressions, that most people aren’t offended by being invited to church. I want to encourage us all to have a go at it… 

 

So firstly, pray about who you might invite, and then pray for opportunities to invite them, and then take the opportunity when it arises. We’ll print up some invitations that you can give out as you have the conversations about church with those you know. We want to make it as easy as possible.

 

Alongside this the sermon series between January and Easter will be focussed on “Encounters with Jesus”. I believe Jesus is the unique factor of our faith, and the bible tells us there is power in His name. So we’ll preach Jesus, we’ll be warm in our welcome and hospitality, and we’ll see what the Lord will do to grow His church.

 

As we move back down to worship in the church building on 22nd Jan, we’re starting to make some adjustments to the way we use the building to ensure it’s a welcoming space that works for us as an evolving community. We’re replacing the carpet (the current one has been in place since 1988), and we’re also seeing how we can make the coffee area more cosy. Added to the updated PA and stage lighting, we hope the experience of church to newcomers and visitors will be much improved.

 

Building Project Update

 

Many of you may be wondering what the current state of the building project is. As you are probably aware the work has taken longer than originally expected, so instead of finishing in August this year, it will likely be complete in Feb/Mar next year. We’re still planning to move our worship back down to the church at the end of January because all the internal works are complete, but the external scaffold will still be in the process of being taken down.

 

The delays to the overall timescales have been for a variety of reasons, such as uncovering more needed work than was expected, and things such as exceptional weather events… The upshot is that we are now predicting a shortfall in finance for the project. At the moment it’s impossible to know what the exact amount of the overspend will be – but we will keep you informed. The overspend isn’t down to bad stewardship or mismanagement on the part of the church, and we are doing all we can to minimise it. We are not panicking but we do want to communicate with you what the current status is. 

 

The building project is financed separately from the general funds, and we have tried to ensure that it remains so, but with the expected overspend the possible impact on the general church finances could hinder our ability to do mission and ministry as a church next year. 

 

Our vision is for the building to be a resource for us to communicate the good news of Jesus to our town, to host and operate ministries that make an impact in the lives of our community, and to be a resource for the wider church. We also want to offer it as a space for wider community use. God is growing his church in Blandford and therefore we need a building that can be our spiritual home for generations to come.

 

We trust that God has all the resource we need, and that he is in control. We can trust him to supply all our needs. Please can you pray for the situation – pray for God to provide the funds we need to be able to pay for all the amazing work that has been done to the building and also funds that enable us to start thinking about the next steps needed with the building to resource the vision we believe that God has given us.

 

I hope you have a great Christmas. I’m looking forward to celebrating it with you all.

 

Many Blessings

 

Chris

 

Service Times for Dec 22

 

Sunday 4th Dec

10am Holy Communion

 

Sunday 11th Dec

9am Morning Worship

5.30pm Carols By Candlelight*

 

Sunday 18th Dec

9am Eucharist

11am Christingle Service*

 

Saturday 24th Dec

3pm Crib Service*

11.15pm Midnight Communion*

 

Sunday 25th Dec

10am Christmas Day Celebration*

*in the church building