ASH Mission Action Plan 2016

THE GENERAL POPULATION OF THE PARISH (c 8,000)

The most recent Census data (some of it now out of date) shows the following:

  1. An even gender split.
  2. Main dwellings are terraced and semi-detached houses.
  3. Nearly 70% owner occupied
  4. The majority of residents have only one home (and so are likely to be there for at least part of the week-end!).
  5. Over a third are professional; around 25% are unskilled.
  6. 58.2% of the parish indicate some form of deprivation.
  7. Nearly half are in good health with less than 5% with bad health.
  8. The majority of people are under 54 (21% over 54).
  9. 23.5% are children.
  10. Over 65% are white.
  11. The majority of those employed work full time (73%). Over 55% of adults are working full time or are in full-time education.
  12. The language spoken at home is almost exclusively English.
  13. Over 50% claim to be Christian.

 

BACKGROUND

 

  1. As Christians, we are called by Jesus Christ to spread the Good News of the Kingdom (Mark 16:15).
  2. The Mission of the Church is the Mission of Christ. The five marks of mission, defined by a recent Lambeth Conference, are listed as:
  1. Proclaiming the Good News of God’s Kingdom.
  2. Teaching, baptising and nurturing new believers.
  3. Responding to human need by loving service.
  4. Working for peace, justice and reconciliation.
  5. Sustaining God’s creation and renewing the life of the earth.
  1. The Diocese of London (DofL) expects each parish to have a Mission Action Plan (MAP). There is no ‘right’ way of formulating this. What matters is that the MAP be a living document, which is owned by the parish and which reflects the local situation.
  2. The DofL further expects a parish MAP to reflect the priorities of Capital Vision 2020 by specific inclusion of at least some elements which are CONFIDENT, COMPASSIONATE AND CREATIVE.
  3. At the last Parish Visitation in late 2012, the Bishop of Willesden, then Acting Archdeacon of Northolt, reminded the Parochial Church Council (PCC) that the people of All Saints’ needed to seek, actively, to engage with the people living in the locality. (CON)
  4. Like many churches, All Saints’, North Hillingdon (ASH) cannot do everything. What matters is that we do some things and do them to the very best of our ability. What matters is taking positive and intentional steps to reach out beyond the existing congregation to those on the fringes. What matters is being missional. This is called intentional evangelism. This is why we need a MAP. (CRE)
  5. Experience in North Hillingdon over the years has shown that there is no quick fix here. Life in Zone 6 is busy for those needing to bring up children, to earn a living and to pay the mortgage. For many, the Church is one of a number of possible consumables. You use it when you need to and drop it when you don’t. But that does not mean that we cease to seek to engage with those who live in the parish. Jesus Christ did not always find a ready welcome in those places where he taught and neither shall we. But there is no doubt that positive engagement is a two-way process; those with whom we seek to engage need to want to engage with us. That is probably the biggest challenge for us in North Hillingdon.
  6. The other major challenge is to persuade the congregation as a whole that intentional evangelism is something to which they are called and which they need to ‘sign up to’. They cannot expect to pass on that responsibility to the resident priest (or to members of the PCC) alone.

 

RECENT PROGRESS

 

  1. From the All Saints’ Mission Statement we commit ourselves to being a welcoming Anglican community, a place of prayer and worship, providing a ministry to all and where people gather to share the love of Jesus Christ.
  2. Our church building is not listed and its exterior is not especially remarkable, though, once inside, visitors are pleasantly surprised at the sacred space they discover (as a first-time visitor to ASH recently explained).
  3. Newcomers and visitors are also pleasantly surprised at the warmth of the welcome extended to them by members of the congregation. Father Desmond (DPB) can see that for himself from the Sanctuary. In fact, our people are our best asset. Those who come to All Saints’ mostly like what they find; the challenge is to get them to come and, once they have come, to commit to staying with us. (CRE)
  4. We have worked hard in recent years to keep our buildings maintained and the heating working: much of the interior of the church has been redecorated; some external work has been completed to keep the weather out; both church Halls have been redecorated and the heating replaced/improved; the church gardens are well maintained by an enthusiastic band of volunteers; an efficient Hall Bookings’ Secretary generates much-needed income from Hall lettings; DPB keeps the Vicarage and the garden well maintained; after many years of neglect, the Curate’s House on the Oak Farm Estate has been completely renovated and now has new tenants in residence paying the market rent. In this way, we have preserved parish assets (as the PCC is required to) and made our income stream more secure. Keeping the plant looking ‘loved’ also gives positive messages to those who visit or who just pass by. (CON)
  5. Through the generosity of a parishioner (and so at no cost to ASH), we have replaced (using the same light-fittings) the lighting in church with modern LED bulbs, which use much less electricity and last much longer than conventional bulbs. (CRE)
  6. We are conscious that, for the parish to be faithful to its mission, our finances have to be in at least reasonable order. In recent years, we have usually met our annual commitment to the London Diocesan Common Fund in full by the end of the year in question. (This was not always the case.)
  7. As a place of prayer and worship, ASH strives to make itself accessible. DPB has made it clear that if the week-day Services could be at more suitable times, people have only to say and he will look carefully at any possible suggestions.
  8. There is a regular Vigil Eucharist on a Saturday evening for those who cannot be at ASH on Sunday; most baptisms happen on a Saturday now, to reflect the wishes/needs of local families; marriages can happen on weekdays; most major Feast Days (which used to be kept in the week) are now anticipated on/transferred to Sundays to enable more people to be part of them. The ‘Third’ Sunday Liturgy has been completely revised and improved. A monthly celebration of the Eucharist with its focus on prayer for the sick has recently been introduced and has been well received. The monthly Choral Evensong is available for those committed to this Prayer Book Service. (CRE)
  9. A parishioner well versed in social media has taken All Saints’ into the world of Face-Book and Twitter. (CRE)
  10. Our events are regularly advertised in a free publication delivered to most of the homes in the parish called The (Hillingdon) Link. DPB’s telephone number is also listed there as a matter of course. Our Services at Christmas and Easter are always listed there free of charge.
  11. Our music is organised and supported by an enthusiastic and committed co-ordinator and choir. Though relatively small, our repertoire is reasonably broad and appropriate. We have recently recruited a young parishioner to join the choir on the ‘Third’ Sunday and another is also intending to join on the same basis.
  12. The Readers’ List for Sundays & Solemnities is now longer than it has ever been; both genders are well represented and the age sprectrum is wide. (CRE)
  13. Our serving team is also faithful and committed, but it needs to be rejuvenated. We are working on this and have recently recruited a young parishioner on the ‘Third’ Sunday.
  14. We have recently recruited Julie Rochelle, a well-established parishioner, as our Honorary Parish Pastoral Assistant (a first for ASH). She helps DPB with visiting and with Home Communions and is proving a huge asset to the parish. (COMP)
  15. Our annual Spring Tea Party is a very popular event and usually attracts nearly 100 visitors. (COMP)
  16. Our fund-raising activities, which include Quiz Nights, Table-Top Sales and other annual events are known about and well supported.
  17. The profile of ASH has been raised in the locality. A PCC member commented recently that people here know who we are and where we are, because we communicate with them.
  18. DPB is well known in the local community through being seen in local shops, as a School Governor, through school visits, through speaking engagements, through being Padre of the local ATC Squadron, through positive engagement with the Imam of the local mosque, through positive engagement with local undertakers, to name a few of his commitments. He has also been instrumental in resurrecting the monthly Churches-Together-in-Long-Lane-Ministers’ Fraternals (though, realistically, the spirit of ecumenism does not seem to be a priority for those under fifty!). He is also known through his work as Area Dean of Hillingdon (AD), which has also raised the profile of ASH by bringing visitors to the church for such events as the Willesden Area Council and the Archdeacon’s Visitation to the Deanery in 2016.
  19. DPB has made good use in the parish of the paid administrative support he receives as AD; as a result,
  1. The Parish Website has been set up and is maintained/up-dated on a weekly basis. Its level of use is also monitored each week.
  2. The monthly Parish Magazine, Saints Alive!, has a circulation of some 15o copies each month; it is also posted on the Parish Website. The revenue generated through subscriptions and advertising goes a long way to paying our photo-copying costs each year. The Magazine is also a good read!
  3. The weekly Parish Bulletin is sent to some eighty people by e-mail each week-end, in addition to being available in hard copy in church.
  4. As was intended, DPB is assisted in routine, though necessary, parish administration. (CRE)

 

SO WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO IN 2016 ?

 

  1. We all need to build on what has been achieved in recent years, while moving, consciously, from maintenance to mission and to intentional evangelism.
  2. Find a way to try to ensure that the congregation is paying its way and not just relying on income from property.
  3. Develop the talents/skills of members of the congregation by taking up appropriate training opportunites – both paid for and foc - offered by the DofL (for readers, intercessors and for pastoral work, for example). (CRE)
  4. Explore, once again, the possibility of keeping our church open outside the usual Service times. Would an ‘A-board’ help ?
  5. Change the current forbidding state of our main door; it is hard to come through it if you are a ‘first-timer’.
  6. Replace the church signage, now past its ‘sell-by date’ and repristinate our church clock, highly visible from Long Lane, and explore the possibility of illuminating both it and the tower in the late evening.
  7. Continue to review the format of the ‘Third’ Sunday.
  8. Keep our Sunday School provision under review and try to secure a possible alternative for those who have outgrown Sunday School. Could we benefit from a share in a qualified Youth Worker ? How would this be paid for ?
  9. Extend schools’ work in the parish, including Ryefield Primary; the new Head has invited DPB to work with Year 6. (CON)
  10. Seek and find ways of encouraging more families and young(er) adults to join us. (CRE)
  11. Engage with the residents of the new Ryefield Court, opening in the summer 2016. (CON)
  12. DPB needs to find more time to follow up conversations in church with more home visits. (CON)

The PCC of ASH

January 2016