Notes from the Consultation meeting
Around 30 residents gathered for the open meeting about exploring ways forward for the C of E churches here in Ollerton and Boughton. As people arrived there was an opportunity to view some projected images of our life together and shared story as well as rekindling your own memories of occasions when we have gathered together in the churches and in our communities.
We reflected upon the present situation and acknowledged that this didn’t happen overnight but had been going on for years but had become more pressing in recent years. The meeting was the beginning of a shared journey towards sustainability and what is realistic and how that might look to ensure that ‘Your Church’ remains a gift to these communities and beacon of light and hope.
We had an opportunity to dispel some myths and raise the communities’ awareness that for the daily running of the church we don’t receive anything from the government, the local council or ‘The Church’; the reality is: ‘Your local church is resourced by local people’. We gave thanks for all the gifts people offer to the church and those offered in response to our last Roundabout article. We have witnessed incredible generosity from some people who have given out of their poverty. We acknowledged that it is part of our human nature to want to give, to help in what ways we can and that when we give, we give life.
We watched the Cadbury’s chocolate advert of the young girl who wanted to buy a bar of chocolate for her mum as her birthday gift and in exchange for this gift, the advert reveals her offerings (buttons, ring and a toy unicorn) she was prepared to give. We were invited to reflect upon what the chocolate bar might represent for us in terms of a gift that the church is offering and what our precious ‘unicorn’ might be that we might be which we could chose to offer as a gift in order to receive the church’s gift in the knowledge that we just might get our ‘unicorns’ back and so much more beside.
There was an invitation to reflect again, what our ‘unicorns’ are – the gifts that we might offer?
- We are rich in terms of all our collective gifts if we consider a population of around 10,000 people living in Ollerton and Boughton – all our gifts together are an amazing gift to each other. There was invitation to consider what gifts you might be able to offer. Thank you to those who came and supported with the grounds, those who work tirelessly for the Church and those who offered gifts on the evening and beyond the evening meeting.
- We recognise that our Sunday morning services do not meet all the needs of our diverse communities –what other possibilities could we explore together: what about informal café-style service? Thinking about families: what days of the week & times would work best?
- As we look towards securing financial sustainability going forward, a gift of £500/month is needed: there are many ways of looking at how this gift might become possible and it is not an impossible task in a community of 10,000 people, for instance, if 125 people gave a gift of £1 per week or 100 people gave a gift of £5 per month or even 500 people gave a gift of £1 per month…… A gift of more than £500 would give us resources to do so much more than we are presently able to do. If you wish to pledge your support by offering a financial gift, there are options of how you can do this, for instance, people might want to offer a one off gift and if you are a tax payer, there are one off gift-aided envelopes to enable the church to receive an extra 25p in every £1 given at no extra cost to the giver; there are bank standing order forms for regular giving…… Thank you to those who have given one-off donations and to those who give regular financial gifts to the Church.
- We also have ‘Giving for Life’ leaflets which outline your local church’s expenditure and what income it receives if you are interested. Please ask for copies.
One resident offered and challenged us to reflect upon the following: what ‘one comfort’ per month would you be willing to give up so you could give this costing to the church instead as part of a commitment to give life to others and secure the futures of the churches for many generations to come.
As we look ahead long term: sustainability will ultimately come through church growth and regular giving.
Thank you for reading this article and thank you for all the gifts you offer, and have offered, in support of your local churches. Next year we will meet again to review how things are in light of responses.
The Churches of St Giles, Ollerton Village – St Paulinus, Church Circle – St Matthews, Boughton.