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Friday, 2 January 2015

The 4C's

Here is my Vicar's letter in the January edition of 'Pilgrimage', the magazine for St John's Seven Kings:

As most of you know I will be leaving St John’s on Sunday 18th January in order to become Priest for Partnership Development with roles at both St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Stephen Walbrook. It will be a wrench to leave St John’s, its people and the ministry here but I see my new role as a continuation of the approach to ministry that we have used here at St John’s over the past eight years and as an opportunity to share that approach more widely through this new role.

St Martin-in-the-Fields aims to undertake its mission and ministry through four C’s; congregation, charity, commerce and culture. The church has a large, diverse congregation which gathers for a wide range of different services and activities. The social action for which it is well known with homeless people is undertaken by a charity called The Connection. There are several commercial activities run at St Martins’ including a well used shop and cafe. In addition, there is a large programme of cultural events including concerts and art exhibitions. All of these activities contribute to the mission and ministry of the church

Over the past eight years at St John’s we have worked with a similar pattern. We have sustained a diverse congregation through a wide range of different services plus prayer and study activities. We have been involved in community and social action through ongoing initiatives like the Contact Centre and Redbridge Voluntary Care among others, while also developing new initiatives like the Sophia Hub. Our commercial activities are based around the hire of the Church Centre which has been revised and expanded over this period. Finally, we have also been a centre for a range of cultural events including book group, concerts, exhibitions, workshops and writer’s panels, among others. Again, as at St Martins’, all of these have been part of our mission and ministry contributing to our witness in the community, the maintaining of our congregation and the improvements in our finances.

St Martins’ wish increasingly to share this model and approach with other churches in order to support the development of wide ranging and sustainable mission and ministry. My new role will assist in enabling that sharing of approaches and resources to happen. It is my belief that this is a model that can be widely used within the Church as a whole and which will be vital as we face the challenges and opportunities of the future. What we have done together here at St John’s over the past eight years has also demonstrated the value of this model in an area where numbers of Christians overall are reducing. Sustaining our congregation, improving our finances and developing new ministry is a significant achievement in our context and, to my mind, shows that the combination of congregation, charity, commerce and culture is an approach which needs to be shared and used more widely within the Church as a whole.

That is why I am excited about my new role and think that the time is right for me to move on from St John’s. I thank you all for all we have shared together over the past eight years – encouragements and challenges – and encourage you to continue to be at the forefront of the Church’s mission and ministry by continuing to use the 4C’s here at St John’s. May the riches of God’s empowering and sustaining Spirit rest upon you and fill you in the next new phase of mission and ministry here at St John’s.


Academy of St. Martins-in-the-Fields - Pachelbel's Canon in D Major.

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