View from the Vicarage


Last Sunday, as a PCC, we went away to St Mark's Surbiton to pray, think and reflect about our corporate vision and plans for mission in the coming years.

It was just the first steps in a much longer process, but we achieved a lot in 3 and half hours and I feel there is so much to look forward to.

As part of the afternoon we spent time considering the responses to the snap survey - which 41 people completed ranging in age from 10 to 90. One of the most revealing questions asked people if St. James were an animal what would it be? By far the most popular response was a dog. Like a dog, our church is felt by people who come to be friendly, well known, loyal, diverse, comfortable and not threatening. One person described it as a Guide Dog, and another said it could look hard on the outside but like a dog its bark was often worse than its bite!

Other popular responses were bear: a teddy bear; an elderly bear and a hibernating bear- Inclined to growl and threaten if asked to move! And a cat: friendly when it wants to be but very independent and inclined to do its own thing. Capable of jumping to great heights at times but rather sleepy and occasionally grumpy too.

We asked people to describe St James now and some of the most popular words were: friendly; musical; inclusive; traditional; loving and good. But also elderly and dying.

We asked what people wanted St James to be in the future and some of the most popular words were: welcoming; vibrant; caring; musical; social; thoughtful; inclusive; child-friendly and growing.

If money and permission were no object some of you would want the doors of the church open every day, more stained glass windows, a full-time children's worker, a caretaker, our own C of E school, a garden for the children to play in, new hymn books, new seats, new service books, real coffee, an extension to the hall and an animal service!

People were asked what they would like praise about St James and the response included: reflective and intelligent worship; plenty of opportunities to serve and be involved; companionship and laughter; an excellent choir; the new vicar; the new website; the PCC; pastoral care and the icon prayer comer.

Finally, we also asked for their priorities for the future and the number one answer was mission and reaching out to new people, followed quite closely by a desire to do more for children and social justice.

Please pray for me and for the PCC as we create a detailed plan over the coming months to move St James to Its next stage - we will keep you Informed as we plan. Do write to me at any time with thoughts, dreams or concerns - don't wait for the next survey! And I am always happy to meet for coffee to discuss our mission plans. We have a very exciting journey ahead and I really want you to be part of it.

Mother Katie