Thursday, 16 January 2014

Intentional in Peckham

To All Saints, Peckham, for the Woolwich Episcopal Area clergy study day.

This year's theme, under Bishop Michael's leadership, was church growth. Six of us, including me, were asked to give a 7-8 minute overview of our parish context and mission, as a kind of taster for workshops that we were to lead in pairs in the afternoon.

I began like this:

'Pie and Mash. Jellied Eels. Pearly Kings & Queens. Albins & Sons. Simon Hughes. The Jubilee line. Millwall Football Club. Custard Creams. Garibaldi Biscuits (both invented in Bermondsey). The second highest number of council tenants of any constituency in parliament, yuppies living by the river, Nigerians, Poles, Ugandans, Finns, Germans, Chinese and French. Mix that all up and you get Bermondsey in 2014'

And I went on to talk about the key features of the area and the principal mission challenge. I referred to General Synod's recent motion about 'intentional evangelism' and suggested we mustn't rely on a kind of passive evangelism - just waiting for people to turn up at church - but that we need to make a deliberate effort to meet people where they are. In that sense 'intentional' is a good word - we need a definite plan and strategy and, of course, that's what we are actively working on here at St James & St Anne's.

We also heard a very stirring and moving presentation from the Church Army mission centre in the borough of Greenwich where they are doing some amazing outreach work in very deprived communities, and fellow blogger, David 'Cookiedays' Cooke, was with us from Holy Trinity, Barmes where he is leading a new church plant/graft. In fact, If I hadn't been leading a workshop myself, I would have gone to hear a bit more about what Cookie was up to - but from what I did hear beforehand  it sounded very good and I was glad Archdeacon Jane had brought him over from Barnes to share with us in Woolwich.

All in all it was a very encouraging day.

Nice lunch, too.

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