As 2023 draws to a close, we would like to express our deep gratitude to you all for your partnership with us in mission and ministry amongst the communities we serve in Cheam, Worcester Park and Belmont.
There have been many exciting developments this year. Our work under the banner of ‘Ignite’ has taken shape in concrete ways: the Gander Green Community Fridge; Circle of Support (for those who are bereaved); Friday morning Tea, Toast & Kindness; She-Sings (a women’s wellbeing singing group); the Community Allotment site; and so much more besides. The list has kept on growing! We have taken risks and given things a go, accepting that we do not always know which of the seeds we sow may take root.
It has been a great year for our work with children and young people. Our Youth Group meets once every other week, with a dedicated group of young people from year 5 upwards. Messy Church attracts up to 100 people and has built new connections with many families.
We have made some successful grant applications this year. These include National Lottery funding for She-Sings and support from the Diocese of Southwark to enable us to pilot two new initiatives: Godseekers and Rainbow Church. Godseekers seeks to gather a small group of people once every couple of months to share a meal and search for God in conversation. We bring and explore hard questions openly, honestly and without judgement. Rainbow Church is a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community, their families and allies. We have conversation over cake and crafts and we share an act of prayer and worship afterwards. Our aim is to meet regularly in the afternoon of the fourth Sunday of each month.
We are looking forward to sharing ideas for developing Ignite in 2024. The year ahead promises to be just as eventful as we continue to look for new ways of bringing the Gospel to bear on the world around us. We already have plans to build on the success of Messy Church by launching Messy Church Goes Wild, making the most of the green spaces outside our churches by taking people outdoors to explore the love of God revealed in creation. We are particularly excited about opportunities to partner with other local churches in mission on the Shanklin Estate in Belmont.
We will celebrate all we have done together at our annual Group Service on Sunday 3rd March – look out for more details. For now, however, we hope you can join with us in thanking God and one another as we make our way to the manger again this Christmas time.
Christ is in our midst – of that we can be sure – and it is our prayer that you and your loved ones would truly know the deep love, joy and the peace that he brings into the heart of our complex lives - in all their grit and their glory.
With our love and best wishes,
Steph Beth Hannah Nick Francesca