Parkstone URC – A Hive of Activity!
“What Can We Do With Our Church?” That was the title of the third such day that IBEX had run A good and varied group of people came to think about the place of their Church – both the buildings and the institution – in the Local Community. This reflects what is almost becoming our motto: If we’re not making a difference in our local community, we are failing as a Church.
We had an enthusiastic host in Mark Phillips. We toured the building – another of those big Victorian places which normally get described as “piles” – a big Victorian pile. We heard how the ball was set rolling a number of years ago by the establishment of a chaplaincy to the Borough of Poole Council – an initiative which IBEX became involved in and played a big part in setting up. The Church is literally a couple of hundred yards from the Council Offices.
Mark seems to have about 15 different hats in keeping the place going – yes, that is an exaggeration, but a number of different and vital things going on and bringing in funding. It emphasises the hard work that goes on to keep something like this going. Parkstone has forged relationships and taken opportunities, enphasising that Churches cannot expect to be able to sit back and wait for people to come to them.
I knew a while ago an Anglican Priest who was described dismissively by his Bishop as “Mr Relevant”, but what hope is there for any Church in its local community if it is not relevant. If you have nothing useful to offer, people will not come to you. In all of the examples we have looked at so far, people have had to work hard in order to achieve anything – work hard at seeking and building relationships, and then work hard at working out how they can work with and within those relationships to the benefit of the wider world. There’s a lot of “work” going on there.
And Chaplaincy – that’s a way of doing things that are useful, a way of showing care for the wider community. But that then led to other initiatives – becoming the base for Faithworks Poole, taking a lead in Interfaith matters in the Borough, hosting a full-time nursery downstairs. Getting involved in things like the Foodbank locally, but now doing the much more adventurous “Social Supermarket” as well. Working with other local organisations – both faith-based and secular, community/charity based or commercial – to achieve a mix of earning the money to keep the premises open and being a good neighbour and a useful presence in the Community.
It all makes you think…. Or at least that’s the idea.
Contact David Wrighton, Team Leader, E-mail: email@example.com