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22nd October 2022

Dear Church Family,


I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer and had some time to reconnect with family and friends. For me it seems that this summer has gone very quickly, and my children are having to re-engage with school no sooner than they’ve stopped for the summer.


We had hoped to be back in church by now, but as is inevitable with building projects, more work is needed than was originally identified and therefore the timescales have expanded somewhat. On top of this as we approach winter we are all increasingly aware of the costs of heating, and with the size of the church building the cost of heating will be eye-wateringly expensive. There are also delays in getting approval to instal the new sound system, which we really need to have in place before returning to the building on a regular basis.


With these factors in play, the Wardens and myself, are proposing that we don’t go back to Sunday worship for the church community in the building until January 22nd, when the new Bishop of Salisbury is due to come and formally re-open the building. We are hoping however to be able to use the building for our Christmas services – which are more public facing in nature. We’ll let you know the details of these dates closer to the time. I understand this will be disappointing to some, but we think it’s better to return to using the building in a good considered and prepared way, rather than rush back in when things haven’t all been sorted. There’s also a certain symmetry about returning pretty much a year to the day since we left the building.


This term our Sunday focus is about Vision, Mission and Values. It’s important that we don’t just talk a good game around these things, but that we also take time to embed them into who we are and the way we behave as a community. Church growth experts say that healthy churches are growing churches. As we embrace the values we’ve discerned, we hope that it will be an important step in assisting us to grow.


One of the things I want to encourage us in at church is honest and open dialogue – especially with me. There’ve been a number of times where I’ve heard that someone is unhappy or upset via a third party. In Matthew 18 Jesus encourages us all to go directly to the person who’s upset us and have that conversation 1 to 1. I am a great believer in having open and honest dialogue, to foster understanding of each other and to appreciate what matters to each other. I am more than willing to sit down and listen to what people are concerned about in the life of the church. Please drop me an email or give me a call and we can arrange to meet and talk things through.


It's also important to remember that none of us are perfect and we all have something to learn, so conflict is inevitable because we all get things wrong and make mistakes. It’s how we deal with conflict when it arises that determines our maturity of faith. My hope is that we grow into a community that does conflict well.


We communicated back in the summer about the intent to go to a 2 service format for the majority of the month, with a 9am Traditional Service and an 11am Contemporary Service. I recognise currently there is an uncomfortable tension in our service format between the two, with the inevitable result that some find elements possibly jarring. Please bear with us…. The eventual outcome will seek to honour the whole of our congregation and community. At the same time, it’s worth remembering that worship isn’t about us, but about Jesus, and therefore whatever the style it’s our choice whether we worship or not. And if we choose to engage, you never know, we might encounter God in unexpected places….


The first week of this month we will be having a week of prayer, following on from Vision Sunday. There will be prayer gatherings each morning and evening – focussing on the values we’ve discerned. Can I invite all of you to come and participate in these sessions? We want to be a praying church, because we believe that prayer invites and enables God to work in our midst, which is surely what we want to see here in Blandford?


Days, Times and locations are as follows:


Mornings – all in the Emmaus Rm at Parish Centre (fixed location, varying times)

Monday 5th Sept - 7am

Tues 6th – Thurs 8th Sept - 9am

Friday 9th Sept - 7am


Evenings – all at 8pm (fixed time, varying locations)

Sunday 4th – Galilee Hall, Parish Centre

Monday 5th – Emmaus Room, Parish Centre

Tuesday 6th – Methodist Church, The Tabernacle

Wednesday 7th – Emmaus Room, Parish Centre

Thursday 8th – Galilee Hall, Parish Centre

Friday 9th – Galilee Hall, Parish Centre


I look forward to seeing you all this weekend as we have vision Sunday, and then share lunch together.