Here we are, our first month as Ansty Road United Reformed Church, there has been much to do and we have been focusing on some of the practical issues of merging the two churches and leaving Harefield Road. At our forthcoming Church and Elders’ Meetings it will be time to think once again about Mission aims and objectives.
We began the process last August when we discussed six themes drawn from our existing mission statements and grouped them with some biblical characters that emerged from the discussions we had around the Nature, Faith and Order of the United Reformed Church during 2015. The conclusions we come to as we look forward may be very different but for the moment I would like to continue working with these themes.
Praying like Hannah, 1 Samuel 1
Hannah’s prayer was soaked in pain, bitterness, anguish and grief. It produced praise, power, potential, prophecy, proclamation. Prayer will be at the heart of who we are, it will be place where healing begins, it will be available through the labyrinth, regular prayer times and in an encouragement to spend regular time with God.
Growing like Mary of Bethany, Luke 10, John 11 & 12
Mary is the disciple who learns and worships at the feet of Jesus. Discipleship is about growing faith through learning from the bible and for each other. We will create regular opportunities to explore the bible, make a faithful response and create discussions that help people think about faith and spirituality.
Welcoming like Martha, Luke 10, John 11 & 12
Martha; housekeeper, theologian, disciple, witness – who together with Mary creates a culture of welcome and worship. We will be committed to creating welcome, hospitality and friendship where people are inspired to worship and witness.
Encouraging like Barnabas: Acts 4, 9, 11
Barnabas is an encourager, he eases tension, finds the best in people, goes out of his way to welcome people into the church. We shall encourage people to make new beginnings and develop their skills. We will put our prayers and biblical pondering into action, emphasising a care for the vulnerable.
Witnessing like Mary Magdalene: Luke 8, 24, John 20
Mary, first witness to the resurrection, yet has been misrepresented through history and sidelined by patriarchal narratives. We will seek ways to witness to Jesus however much the message may be sidelined or ignored. We will explore developing a new centre in Stoke. We will network and partner with people of good will in creating loving communities.
Celebrating like the dancing cripple: Acts 3
A man’s life is turned around when he meets the risen Christ through Peter and John. His reaction is to dance with joy and amaze those around him. We need to celebrate life’s moments, celebrate the good news of Christ, celebrate a love shared. As Dory told us one day, these moments are like a comma changing the flow of a sentence – so let’s find reasons to dance.
So be prepared to share your hopes and ideas. Be open to the way the Spirit is moving, join with us as we explore God’s Mission for Ansty Road United Reformed Church.