Mission Action Plan

Details of the recently agreed Mission Action Criteria.

Details of the Mission Action Criteria that is being considered by the Synod’s Scoping Group can be found below:

 

Summary

Criterion 1: We welcome all who come to our premises.  Our redeveloped premises are very well-used by outside organisations, with whom we have a good relationship.  Our church is also supportive of the uniformed organisations.  We hold services for those with learning difficulties.  We have a strong relationship with Caterham School and other schools nearby.

Criterion 2: We encourage our members to deepen their faith by study groups and by the range of worship we provide.

Criterion 3: We are very mindful of the needs of young, elderly and those living alone.  Special activities are arranged or supported with such people in mind, whether or not they are members of our church community.

Criterion 4: We try to ensure that our worship is sufficiently varied and spiritual to enable all to feel there is something for them.

Criterion 5: Our premises are managed in such a way that we are able to welcome a wide range of community involvement.

Criterion 6: Our finances and premises are responsibly managed to ensure we make the best use of what we have, to enable us to carry through our mission.

Criterion 7: We are fully involved in the work of our Cluster, Synod Area and Synod.  Although ecumenism is not currently flourishing in Caterham, we play our part in the ecumenical activities which do take place.

Criterion 8: We are supportive, by prayer, finance and interest, of numerous movements furthering the causes of justice and peace and the environment.

Criterion 9: Our Committee structure helps ensure that the various aspects highlighted by the Mission Criteria are regularly reviewed.

 

We have been asked to identify our aspirations.   These would include:

The extension of our youth work

Enhanced ecumenical relationships

An improvement of the congregation's use and understanding of the Bible

Greater variety in our music and hymns

The development of our ministry to those who use our premises

An increase of support for the Community Praise services for those with learning difficulties

Greater participation on worship by the members of the uniformed organisations

The extension of the use of the concourse area during the day for community interaction

A strengthening of our links with Caterham, Caterham Prep and Oakhyrst Grange Schools and making links with other schools and youth groups where we can

A wider sharing of responsibilities across the church.

 

Detailed responses to Mission Criteria

1.  This church is outward-looking and actively seeking to reach new people for Jesus Christ.

a. We seek to welcome all who come to our premises.

b. Some 12 years ago, with the help of a substantial loan from Synod which has been fully repaid early, with interest, we undertook a substantial redevelopment of the premises to make them more user-friendly and attractive for outside use.  This has resulted in many outside organisations making use of the premises.  Examples of the breadth of such use are: three different Alcoholics Anonymous groups, meetings for those with learning difficulties, Scouter training, Pilates, 'Sound Steps, a badminton club, the local floral club, Brazilian Soccer school, the Cats Protection League, Yoga, Probus, the R N L I, Synod ONET day, U 3 A, National Blood donor sessions, League of Friends of Caterham Dene Hospital, local residents associations and the Parish Council.  These are just examples, and in addition there are meetings of various church groups and committees as well as the uniformed organisations associated with the church.  Seldom a week-day passes without at least half a dozen events taking place on the premises.

c. We encourage the use of our premises by the uniformed organisations - Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts (we are the Sponsoring Authority for the Scout Group) and they regularly attend Parade services.  They are encouraged to participate in the services.  One of our Elders is designated as a 'link Elder' to ensure close contact with the Eldership.

d. We are keen to work ecumenically with the other denominations in our area.

e. We hold regular afternoon services of Community Praise, for those with learning difficulties.  This is a very simple form of service with plenty of music. It is much welcomed by those for whom it is intended.  Attendance varies considerably, but usually those with learning difficulties and their carers number 15-20.  Members of our church also attend.

f. We have a web-site aimed at attracting and informing the public of our mission and activities.

g. We have started to work on the challenges presented by 'A Radical Welcome'

h. We keep the sanctuary open as much as possible during the week, and there is also access to the sanctuary from the concourse by users of the premises.  This is much appreciated by those who take advantage of the opportunity.

i. Caterham School, being a Congregational (now U R C) foundation retains close links with us and is well represented both on the Eldership and among our members.  At least twice a year, the School Boarders join us for morning worship, which is often led by the School Chaplain, and supported by their choir.  Because of the range of boarders, these services have an international and multi-faith aspect.

j. Caterham School, Caterham Prep. School and another private school nearby, Oakhyrst Grange use our church for their carol services which bring many parents.  We are invited to be involved, to a greater or lesser extent, in these.

k. On one Friday each month we provide a lunch event which we call 'Chomp and Chatter', to which we welcome those from other churches and from none.  The usual attendance is over 30, many of whom live alone and greatly welcome the opportunity both to chomp and to chatter.   

 

2.  This church is committed to encouraging and enabling people to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ

a. During Lent, we regularly provide a weekly study course.  This is usually attended by about 24 people.  Where possible, we do this in conjunction with other denominations

b. We have a monthly Bible study group.

c. We have run Emmaus courses, both for adults and young people, which has resulted in additions to our membership.

d. We encourage people to subscribe to Bible Reading Fellowship notes.

e. We have a monthly 'all-age' worship service, which is popular with the younger generation.  This is preceded by Breakfast Club' which is also popular with the young and with parents who also attend.  

f. We and the leaders of the uniformed organisations urge parents to come to parade services (see 1 c above) and some do.  They have said afterwards that they have enjoyed supporting the services.

g. On one Thursday morning a month, there is a small prayer gathering: 'Two or Three', to pray for our church and its particular needs.

h. One of our members has recently been commissioned as an Assembly Accredited Lay Preacher.

 

3.  This church is committed to caring for people of all ages both inside and outside its own community.

a. Our services are recorded so that the recording can be made available to those (especially the elderly) who are unable to attend church.

b. We are closely involved with work among the young, through the uniformed organisations.  At a recent count, there were 24 Beavers,36 Cubs and 11 Scouts, while Rainbows numbered 18, Brownies 25 and Guides 24.  All these meet on our premises.  We have mentioned (at 1 c above) the important fact of an Elder specifically designated to link with these organisations.

c. One of the most regular users of the Hall is 'Little Gems', a commercially run nursery group which we encourage.  At their request we have recently provided them with an additional play area outside, to enable them to meet an Ofsted criticism.  

d. After the final service on a Sunday, the flowers which have decorated the church are bunched up and taken to those for whom there is a particular need to be mindful, whether it be a bereavement or anniversary of a bereavement, or a birthday or wedding anniversary.

e. As with most churches, arrangements are made for distributing harvest flowers to those members who are house-bound.  A special distribution of Christmas gifts is made to similar recipients.

f. Although our car-parking space is much in demand on most days because of the heavy use of our premises, we are able in certain circumstances to permit others to use our space and our facilities.  This includes selling annual permits, to enable London commuters to park, providing an additional income to the church.

g. A significant result of the redevelopment (see 1 b above) is that there is access for the disabled to all parts of our building.  There is a disabled toilet which meets current standards and a dedicated child's toilet and nappy-changing facilities in the childrens area. 

h. When the redevelopment took place, a conscious decision was taken to include a counselling suite which is made available to Relate and to various counsellors.

i. We have mentioned (see 1 k above) the monthly 'Chomp and Chatter' lunch events, much appreciated by those living alone.

j. We have a Guild (formerly the Women's Guild, but now open to men and women) which meets twice a month with a varied programme.  Membership is not limited to church members and usually over 20 attend the meetings.

k. Every Friday we have 'Coffee in the Concourse' to which all are welcome.  Quite often a parent or grand-parent will drop in for this, prior to or after collecting a child from one of the activities taking place on the premises. 

l. After Sunday morning service, there is a social time over coffee and biscuits.  This is especially welcomed by young families and by those of the congregation who live alone and need time to chat.

m. Each of the Meeting Elders has his or her own district, with a list of all the church members and adherents to whom they have a special responsibility, including that of caring and, where appropriate, visiting.  Church members in hospital have been very appreciative of the care shown them by their Elder.

 

4.  This church provides relevant, inspiring and engaging worship, which is accessible to all people, including those new to church life.

a. Our style of worship encourages new-comers to return, which is perhaps the best test of accessibility.

b. Worshippers are greeted at the door and are provided with an order of service and a sheet of the week's notices.  Bibles are offered and hymn-books are in the pews.

c. Worship is planned and designed to reflect the seasons in the church's year.

d. Community Praise services have been mentioned (see 1 e above).  These services are designed to be accessible to those for whom they are intended.

e. In conjunction with a local hospice, we provide an annual Tree of Light service in early December, which is designed to give comfort to those recently bereaved or at a distance from their loved ones.

f. A hearing loop is provided and there are large print hymn-books available.

g. Our evening services are quieter and more meditative for those who favour that style of worship.

h. There is a monthly weekday morning communion  service, on the last Wednesday of the month.

i. A crèche is provided in church, for families with very young children.  For children over 4, junior church is offered with the children starting and ending in church with the whole church family.

j. We are prepared to alter the times of our services to make them more convenient for the congregation.

k. Our organ is of very high quality and provides inspiring music to assist our worship.

 

5.  This church is committed to serving the community through a variety of programmes and activities.

a. We have mentioned (see 1 b above) the use made of our premises by elements of the community.  We are fortunate in being near the centre of Caterham, which makes our premises particularly appropriate for various community uses.

b. We have mentioned (see 3 h above) the counselling suite.  This provides a very valuable service to the community.

c. Reference has also been made (see 1 c above) to the support the church gives to the uniformed organisations.

d. Reference has been made (see 1 e above) to the provision made for those with learning difficulties.

e. The church garden is maintained as a place of peacefulness.  Being near the town centre it is much used by the passing public, including lunch-time relaxation by those working in the town.

f. Last year, we were glad to be able to support a 'faith day' at our church, organised by Alcoholics Anonymous, when many representatives of local churches in Caterham and Redhill met to hear about how A A can meet the needs of those who might well turn to ministers for help.

g. We take an active part in the Caterham Festival by arranging concerts in church

h. It would be impossible to assess the quantity of voluntary social work carried out among the community by church members, but it is clearly significant.

 

6.  This church is committed to resourcing its life and mission through its personnel, finances and buildings

a. According to the Annual Return submitted by the church for 2010, the total membership was 118 and those regularly attending worship on Sundays approximately 85.  There are about 40 regular attenders who are not church members.

b. The age range of membership has not been precisely analysed, but probably a reasonable assessment would be about: under 45: 8%, 45-60:16%, 60-75:36%, over 75:40% of the membership.  That is actual members - a similar analysis of adherents, or of regular attenders would probably produce quite significantly different percentages.

c. The same annual return showed about 26 children and young people attending church at the main service.  It recorded 96 additional children associated with the life of the church (these were members of the uniformed organisations).

d. (We are invited to indicate whether there are 'other trained clergy resources available in the community able and willing to assist the work of the local church)  One of our members is a retired non-stipendiary minister of the U R C.  However, he is currently the Interim Minister at Wimbledon U R C and can very seldom offer his services to assist in the work of our church.  The Chaplain to Caterham School is also a member of our church, but he is engaged full-time at school and is only able to take our services twice a year, when the Caterham Boarders join our services.  There are no other trained clergy resources available in the community to assist in the work of this church.

e. The budget for the year 2011 planned for a total income of just over £112,000, the main items of income being £57,000 from offerings and £12.700 from tax recovery, with the addition of some £39,000 from the hire of the premises.  The main items of expenditure were budgeted at £57,000 for ministry (of which  £44,496 was our Ministry and Mission assessment), £15,000 for maintenance of the premises and garden and £15,000 for utilities.  Although it is never easy to keep to the budget, we have not recently made a significant surplus or deficit.  We have been able to respond positively to the request to contribute to help make good the deficit in the Ministers' Pension Fund, by providing the full amount asked of us.  We believe that for the foreseeable future we can support the mission and ministry of the church.

f. Our Property Committee regularly reviews the condition of the buildings and the requirements of the quinquennial reviews have been and are being met.  Annual risk assessments of the various parts of the premises are prepared and  carefully considered.

g. The fact that the buildings are heavily used by outside organisations (see 1 b above) and that we are frequently asked for bookings is evidence that the users find the buildings attractive.  

h. The kitchen and catering facilities are used to provide a wide range of events to members and outsiders.

i. In the past five years, there have been 19 baptisms, 11 weddings and 27 funerals conducted at our church.  During that period, there have been 26 admissions to membership. 

j. Our monthly magazine, Under the Clock, helps keep all readers informed of our activities.

 

7.  This church is committed to the wider church of God through the United Reformed Church, nationally, ecumenical relationships and the world church

a. We participate fully in the activities of the North Downs Cluster, the Surrey and Sussex Area Synod and Southern Synod.

b. We have representatives on the group organising the Women's World Day of Prayer: the main service this year is to be held in our church

c. We are members of our local Churches Together.  Sadly, ecumenism is not thriving in Caterham but members of our church do attend and take part in regular ecumenical services.  Churches together in Caterham do provide a Christmas Day lunch for those who would otherwise be on their own.  We support this both financially and by members attending personally to serve the lunch or convey the lunchers to or from the event.

d. We are a thriving mainstream church, the only free church in Caterham Valley which is a member of Churches Together in England..

e. In the recent past, when Churches Together in Caterham have held ecumenically-based Lent groups, we have participated fully, both in personnel and in premises.

f. Very recently, we have been glad to provide our Anglican friends from St. Mary's with accommodation for the harvest supper as their hall is being rebuilt.  We have good personal relationships with the other churches in the town.

 

8.  This church is committed to addressing issues of justice and peace and the environment.

a. We support Commitment for Life in our prayers and financially.  Each year, we have one Sunday specifically devoted to explaining Commitment for Life and urging congregational support.  Our financial giving to Commitment for Life last year was £3,666 including Gift Aid.

b. We have a monthly Traidcraft stall, which averages some £100 of goods sold each month.

c. We actively support Christian Aid, and are involved in the annual house-to-house collection jointly with other churches in the area.

d. We support COAT, the Caterham Overseas Aid Trust.  Members of our church serve on the committee; we give part of our Christmas offerings to COAT and we host fund-raising events for COAT.

e. We support the Croydon Refugee Project financially and with regular gifts of appropriate item as they are needed.

f. We have a TRAID recycling bin in our car-park, which recovers a significant quantity of usable material which would otherwise have gone to land-fill.

g. We support the Leprosy Mission, and again we have one Sunday in the year when we concentrate on the work of T L M to encourage support, prayers and fund-raising.

h. We support the Angel Tree, a charity to provide benefits for those in prison.

i. We are a Fairtrade church.

j. We contribute to disaster appeals when appropriate.

 

9.  This church is committed to regularly reviewing its life and mission in the light of the above criteria, always seeking the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit

a. We have established a committee system that ensures that all aspects of our work, both within and outside our church are fully considered.  Each Committee includes in its membership an Elder whose responsibility it is to reflect matters from Committee to Elders Meeting, and from elders Meeting to Committee.

b. The Church Fellowship Committee is responsible for providing opportunities for church fellowship.

c. The Finance and Administration Committee is responsible for ensuring that the finances of the church are carefully managed

d. The Mission and Outreach Committee is charged with responsibility for ensuring that matters relating to Church and Society and World Church issues are addressed, and to ensure that the church is involved in social issues in the community as well as matter of mission.

e. The Property Committee has the duty of ensuring that the premises are fit for purpose.

f. The Youth and Children’s Council, which includes in its membership representatives of the uniformed organisations as well as the Junior Church, is charged with providing support and encouragement for children's and young people's groups in the church.

g. The structure of our monthly Elders meetings is such that we take account of the various aspects of the life and mission of our church on a regular basis.  We also have a procedure whereby we ensure that any matter raised with an individual Elders which is relevant to the life or mission of the church is brought to the next Elders' meeting by the Elder concerned.

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