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Excited to Engage in Mission - A PCC Update

Excited to Engage in Mission - A PCC Update

# News
Published by Sera Rumble on Wednesday, 19 January 2022 18:08

Excited to ‘Engage’ in Mission

A PCC Update on our 3-year plan for Mission Partners and Community Collaborations 

At St Denys Church we believe that an essential aspect of discipleship is to engage in mission. As part of this, in 2021, the PCC agreed four ‘engage’ priorities to focus on for the next three years: Global Engagement, Environmental Stewardship, Making Disciples and Local Empowerment. We believe there’s a real strength to working with others already involved in these areas, building a two-way relationship where we both listen & learn as well as support & give.  

There are two strands to what this looks like in practice: 

1) Community Collaboration at a very local level where we are able to offer onsite resources and a pastoral presence to local community initiatives. 

2) Mission Partners at both local and global scales where we connect with Christian groups or individuals and develop a two-way relationship, offering support in different ways and also being open to learn and be shaped by what we hear & see.

The PCC considered the wide context of our mission engagement, and decided to support St Denys Church’s engagement with eight organisations or individuals (with 4 of them receiving our tithe). Whilst this might seem a large number, we believe it is possible, especially as we are already actively engaged with some of these groups, and we propose balancing financial support for some with practical support for others. Have a look at the image below to see the 8 organisations/households and then read on below for more information about each of them:

Community Collaborations:

Feed the Community: This grassroot community initiative focuses on making surplus food available to those who need it, and is run by volunteers. The Friday morning food distribution has been based at St Denys Church for a year, and each week between twenty and forty households are provided with free food that they have chosen. For a core of ten to twenty people, this is also a time for important social connection and support. As a church we engage through offering facilities for storage and food service, but also by providing practical and pastoral support each Thursday evening and Friday morning.

Sunday Lunch Project: This well-established local community venture provides a hot meal each Sunday for anyone who needs it. Having started at St Denys 28 years ago, it now has two bases in Southampton and returned 3 years ago to use St Denys as one of these bases. Each Sunday between 20 and 40 people come to the church centre for a meal. As well as food, it offers a safe and positive place for social contact and one of the regulars described it as seeing ‘family’ each week. As a church, as well as providing the facilities for storage and for hosting the meal, we also provide consistent and positive pastoral connections. This has included facilitating job applications and taking the funeral of one of the regulars who died suddenly. Some of those who attend, now come along to service. 

Mission Partners:

Christian Aid: Christian Aid is one of the world’s largest relief & development agencies. It allows us access to resources for campaigns (e.g. around water or climate change) tailored for different groups (e.g. children), is a vehicle for active response to emergencies, and it's also of interest to people beyond that church due it being a well-known 'brand'. We have supported them at various levels for a number of years, including running Messy Church 'Christian Aid' sessions and donating financially, and have made use of their resources for prayer, campaigns and social justice. Click here for more information on the organisation.

David & Christine Torrance (with son John): The Diocese of Kondoa, north of Tanzania’s capital Dodoma, where the Christian faith is growing rapidly.  There is a great need for theological training. David (our former curate) and Christine have been invited, and feel called, to be part of meeting that need. This means putting David’s theological training and their shared experience in ministry at the service of the people of Kondoa.  As CMS mission partners they are preparing to go to Tanzania mid-2022. Supporting Christine and David will be a new partnership for St Denys, with our prayer and finances supporting the making of new disciples, the equipping and nurturing of Christian leaders and growing the church in Kondoa.

Climate Stewards: Climate Stewards is part of A Rocha (a Christian environmental charity) and focuses on helping people to live better on low carbon while also supporting our global neighbours to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Engaging with Climate Stewards is a way of exploring how we could individually and collectively reduce our carbon footprint, and of supporting their work through financial giving. Clicking here will give you a flavour of their work.

Safe Families: Safe Families is a charity that works with the City Council.  Safe Families offer hope, belonging and support to children, families and care leavers, primarily, but not exclusively, with and through local churches. A number of individuals/families in the church are volunteers befriending people, and we have encouraged this for over 4 years now. We are now also committing to give financial support that will enable the training and supporting of volunteers. For more information click here

Catriona Rawlins & Sam Shackleton: Cat and Sam are well known to the St Deny church family, stretching back to their student days.  Our churches “punches above its weight” in producing priests and Cat is now in training for C of E ministry at Trinity College Bristol. Sam uses his multiple gifting at the moment with the Salvation Army, working in one of their larger homelessness shelters. We have the opportunity to continue sharing their journey as they respond to God’s calling to ministry, to support them in friendship and prayer, and to learn and be challenged ourselves as God takes them out of their comfort zones into new places and opportunities to make disciples. 

Peacebuilding in Ethiopia: A number of church members have connections with or interest in Ethiopia – the second largest country in Africa with a rich orthodox Christian heritage but diverse ethnic groups and many “unreached” peoples.  The current ethnic conflict adds new challenges and Christian leaders, amongst others, are seeking to be peacemakers.  The Church Mission Society (CMS) works predominantly in the west of the country.  We propose finding out more about how Christians can have a positive impact and show God’s love for a hurting nation. We are currently exploring a possible connection with an experienced CMS family who are working in Ethiopia with a focus on peace-building. We will look for ways to do more than just pray as we explore how to get involved.

If you'd like to find out more about the groups or ways you could be involved in helping us to engage, then chat to one of the Global & Local Mission Group members (Andrew Mortimore, Tim Nickels and Sera Rumble)