Vision Strand 2: Examples of how it works
Below are stories from two parishes who are already involved in the Growth Strand through LyCiG. Read how they have started to build links in the community and grow their churches, using the ideas from LyCiG.
LyCiG Berwick - By Dennis Handley
Over the last couple of years Berwick Parish Church has been reflecting upon its life and work. We began to feel that LyCiG could help us with our thinking and planning, so a few people attended the national LyCiG conference in Swanwick. Following this, we decided to hold a parish weekend away at Shepherd’s Dene. This allowed members of the PCC and parish working groups to discuss the really good things happening in our church, and to focus upon how we can grow spiritually, serve our community, and grow in numbers. We identified four main areas for renewed attention:
- How we welcome people and offer hospitality
- How we reach out to others in worship and in service.
- How we link with others in Berwick to help those in need.
- How we support families and children.
Thanks to this process, there have been a number of developments:
- A service of thanksgiving for the town of Berwick on 8 April, followed by a buffet lunch. We have invited members of all the major organisations to this event.
- Church volunteers will be assisting at breakfast and after school clubs to support families
- We have contacted the Berwick Youth Project, who are keen to build a relationship with our church
- Through people visiting the local pub for a pint and a hymn sing the curate has been asked to be a trustee.
- We are improving the quality of tea and coffee served after services
- The Vicar is using his engineering background to refurbish our toilets!
We feel LyCiG was definitely a catalyst which gave renewed energy and focus for the parish, allowing us to map out our vision for the church for the next five years, and particularly where we should spend our time, energy and resources.
LyCiG Byker - By Phil Medley
Talking about church growth can feel like a tricky issue to raise, and is sometimes side stepped at PCCs. However, the value of LyCiG is that it reminds us that growth is fundamental to our Church life and Christian calling, but does so in a way that honestly and openly engages with the challenges we face.
While attending the national LyCiG conference in Swanwick, I was encouraged by how very relevant it felt to the situation of our churches in Byker, and how great it was to have space to discuss the ideas and challenges we have when reaching out to people. On returning, we were keen to share the material with our congregations. We asked each of the four Byker Churches to nominate some people to attend a weekend away, where we introduced LyCiG using the ‘LyCiG Local’ material.
It was a highly stimulating time in which we looked at both our individual churches and how we can work together. We discussed what church growth means to us, and assessed our strengths and weaknesses using the four LyCiG categories of Prayer, Presence, Proclamation and Persuasion.
We are still working through the LyCiG material, but I feel it has got us to talk about mission and growth in a positive rather than negative way. We’ve seen this in some of the imaginative ways in which we have tried to reach people, such as the Byker Nativity, an outdoor retelling of the Nativity, at Christmas each year. Although tackling church growth can be a challenging task, with many ups and downs, I am grateful for the way LyCiG has reminded us how important it is to enable church growth.
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