A resounding success!

The first Sing Something Simple was a resounding success!!! A lady who is registered blind was the perfect ‘barometer’. There was no need to ask if she was enjoying it – we only had to watch her face as she sang!

At the end she told us that there are so many things that, with her lack of sight, she just can’t do. But she can sing! And she clearly loved every minute. Brought a tear to my eye, I can tell you!

Be with people

Another lady told us how critical it is for her to get out and be with people. With her daughter’s recent death and her husband’s Alzheimer’s she said that it had been a dreadful year for her. But for a little while she could sing her heart out and laugh once more.

Everyone else clearly loved it too – and sang along with gusto. There were nine of us in total (about the maximum that my little lounge will hold)

Which worked best

It was really helpful to play the tunes I’d put together on my iPod – and to see which worked best. One or two of the songs were really lovely – but a little too slow. It was the catchy ones that worked best for a sing-along – so a couple of songs will come out of the list. But I wouldn’t have been able to see that so clearly without our little ‘rehearsal’

Very portable speaker

Authentic sound

Using playlists and an iPod speaker really worked. I would recommend continuing to use that means of providing the music. It produced the authentic sound – exactly as people remembered from their youth – and had the advantage of not needing to ask musicians to give up their time. That’s not to say that we couldn’t have an occasional ‘concert’ from time to time

Timing

The afternoon’s ‘rehearsal’ also enabled us to check the timing of it all: half an hour of singing before tea and cake – followed another half an hour of singing – with time in between to chat. 2pm to 3.30 felt just the right amount of time.

The way forward

So – another session is booked for the 15th February – and I will select some different songs and produce another set of lyrics. We need three or four different playlists with lyrics so that we’re not singing the same songs each time.

I would definitely encourage growing the group through relationships – rather than advertising it (at least to begin with). We need to build a strong stable group, I feel. So the idea will be to ask the current members of the group if they know of anyone outside of the church who is lonely or isolated that they could invite.

Larger venue

That can only happen, however, when we have a larger venue – my lounge was at full capacity. So the next discussion might be about where we hold these sing-alongs in the future. Should we use the church? Or would somewhere like Woosehill Community Centre be less intimidating for non-church people? Time for another MIT meeting!

Do please let me have any thoughts, ideas or comments

PS – Here’s the invitation to the meeting that went out to the group – just to give you a ‘flavour’ of what it was all about:-

Sing Something Simple

A musical meander down Memory Lane

with Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Mathis, Glen Millar, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby,  Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Perry Como and many more.

A few people from Woosehill church are going to try out a new PMC initiative – before it is ‘rolled out’ to lonely or isolated people outside the church.

Would you like to come along and help us to ‘rehearse’ so – we know what works and what doesn’t?

Most of us can’t sing for toffee’ – but we don’t need to – the sound tracks will  cover a ‘multitude of sins’! We simply want to have fun!

Lyric sheets will be provided (though, if you were around anywhere in the 1940’s to the 1960s you probably won’t need them)

Thursday 11th January 2018 2pm to 3.30 pm

Afternoon tea will be served

 

Our community


So – now that we’ve got our heads round what Partnership for Missional Church (PMC) is all about, let’s look at what we can all do, very simply, each day.

Gavin and Roland,  a couple of comedians here at Woosehill Church, give us their hilarious version of Talking Heads as they discuss how to be friendly here in our community!

 

 

 

 

Cluster Event

Sixth PMC Cluster Event – by Steve Lewis

Mid-June the sixth PMC cluster event was held at St Catherine of Siena church, Tilehurst. The purpose of these PMC cluster is for all churches involved in Partnership for Missional Church to get together, to swap experiences, feedback progress, understand the next steps and receive guidance and support from the PMC Delivery Team. These clusters are a full two-day event; Friday daytime (starting 9:30am) is for Ministers and PMC Steering team leaders, with the rest of the steering team and the MIT joining them in the evening at about 7:00pm until 9:30pm. Then everybody attends all day Saturday (9:30am until 4:30pm).

Friday daytime

I picked up Patrick about 8:45 and drove to Tilehurst, for the Friday daytime session, (my first time!). The day started with “Dwelling in the Word” followed by sessions on “mindfulness” mediation, discussions on the role of the Ministers. Bob Armstrong (a member of the PMC Delivery Team) gave us his understanding of the Core Beliefs in Partnership for Missional Church; a summary of what, fundamentally, underpins all the work and activities carried out as part of Partnership for Missional Church:-

God is always working for good in the world
God has fashioned us to be God’s partners in the care and healing of the world
All around us are people who have gifts and long to be part of the care and healing of the world
In Jesus Christ, God has overcome the barriers that separate us and invites us all to join his unlikely community in the care and healing of the world.

Bob’s summary of the fundamentals of Partnership for Missional Church adds clarity and understanding; our Partners are God and those already helping or wanting to help care for the world. We just need to notice where God is at work in the world and be willing to take a risk and join in! By joining in we will join God’s community and God’s community will join us. Partnership for Missional Church is just about giving us the structure, tools, skills and confidence to carryout God’s plan.

Friday evening

Friday evening Patrick and I were joined by the members of the Woosehill steering team and MIT (Alison, Gavin, Bob, Eileen and Fay; unfortunately Doreen and Jeanette were away and couldn’t attend). There were also nine from the St Paul’s and St Nicholas’s teams (Mary, Lynne, Liz, Fiona, Anne, Jane, Adrian, Lyn, Louise, plus Richard and Julie). The evening started with “Dwelling in the Word” followed by conversations between churches of what had happened since the last cluster, and how everyone felt that things were going.

Saturday

Saturday we all met again, starting the day with a short worship service followed by, guess what, “Dwelling in the Word”! The rest of the day was filled with a number of presentations by the PMC Delivery Team and group interactive sessions, including:

  • Reflecting on the current state of progress of the PMC Spiritual Practices within Woosehill Church – an interesting discussion was had!
  • As part of that –  looking back at what has been going on in our churches, we were asked to describe what God is doing there. Between all the churches we came up with quite a list.
  • Bishop Andrew told us about the Missional Challenge he had set himself – where he had got to – and how well it had gone.
  • The PMC Delivery Team explained about the next phase of the Partnership for Missional Church journey, including the final Spiritual Practice of “Focus for Missional Action”. In essence, do some planning and don’t take too much on!

God is . . .

moving all around us
transforming us
stretching us
encouraging and supporting us
bringing people together
opening doors
making us talk about our faith
inspiring us
breaking down boundaries
teaching us to love him more
stirring us
working with us
personally empowering us
answering our prayers
creating opportunities for us
and maybe even laughing at us !
AND ABOVE ALL … LOVING US

MIT Fair

There was also a MIT Fair. Each church had produced a visual presentation showing the progress of their Missional Church – and everyone had a chance to walk round looking at, and asking questions about, each other’s progress. Ours was based on a “snakes and ladders” game, which was very well received.

 

House of pain

We were shown a video about two churches in Nottingham and their experiences of Partnership for Missional Church. By far the most eye-catching was the church that decided to Partner with a wrestling club!

To me what is most surprising about the video is not that a church and a wrestling club got together – it is the fact that some at the church had a conversation, read an article noticed or heard about the wrestling club and realised that it was “God at Work”. I’m not entirely sure I’d have made that connection!

The cluster ended at about 4:30 Saturday afternoon, we finished with prayers and by saying goodbye to each other until the next cluster in October.

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Answered prayer

 

So you’re an American”, I said to Bob, who had joined our little group of team leaders from local churches. “What brought you to England?” Bob smiled at my question.

Earlier, he’d listened quietly while we all shared what our churches’ PMC had been up to. I’d explained about the blog and given everyone a little leaflet that I’d produced earlier that day, asking for prayer for PMC.

Now, very graciously, Bob explained that he was here to speak at the meeting. Oh dear! At that moment I’d have given anything for the ground to have opened and swallowed me up!

Bob Armstrong

I would only later discover that, during more than 30 years of ministry in the mid-west Bob had risen to executive Pastor and Senior Associate for Mission and Outreach. I’d have been even more mortified had I known that he  had been  Director of the Partnership for Missional Church (PMC) – or that he is currently working with dioceses within the Church of England, leading church leaders and teams through the PMC process.

Mercifully I didn’t know all that as Bob tucked into his pocket the little leaflet on which I’d written:

Trying to ‘do’ Partnership For Missional Church (PMC) without a foundation of prayer is like sowing seeds and then neglecting to water them. It pretty much guarantees failure. We need to pray if we want to see success. To read about the amazing things that God has been doing all over Britain and around the world in response to prayer and blessing, go to: https://pmcwoosehill.blog/prayer Now you can make a difference! Could you spare less than a minute a day to pray for and bless the families, homes, schools, churches etc. of our community? The above blog page will tell you how! Your prayers would be so valued – and so worthwhile!”

A lovely phone call

The previous evening, I’d received a lovely phone call from one of the ladies who faithfully pray for the church at the monthly meeting which, this time, had coincided with our Mission Innovation Team (MIT) meeting. “We’ll be especially praying for you as you meet” she told me.

PMC has had it’s ups and downs over the past eighteen months, as illustrated in a delightful visual aid,  created by Steve Lewis, to chart the journey so far:-

Our recent MIT meetings hadn’t been particularly productive. We’d had been struggling to come up with ideas for reaching out into the community and making contacts. So, as we started our meeting, we were grateful to know that the ladies would be praying for us.

Suddenly, an hour or so into the meeting, it just seemed to suddenly take off!  Ideas flowed – certain ideas seemed to impress themselves on our hearts. Those ideas sparked other ideas – and we really felt that we were being inspired. At the end of the meeting we talked about how amazingly it had gone.

So noticeable

 “It must be all the prayer!” I exclaimed. Steve said something very interesting, “it took off at twenty past eight!” “How come you can pinpoint a time?” I asked. He replied “it felt it so noticeable that I looked at the clock

One of the things which the Holy Spirit had seemed to particularly impress upon our hearts had been the idea of seeking out local people who have come to the end of their professional careers and want to ‘put something back’ in terms of skills and gifts that might help others in the community.

Later that evening I emailed the ladies who’d been praying to thank them and to tell them how immediately their prayers had been answered. At that point I couldn’t know that we would soon see yet more answers to their prayers.

After my embarrassing gaffe

The next evening, after I had I had made my embarrassing gaffe with Bob, he wound up the meeting. In his talk he said : “Don’t just see the people you are reaching out to only in terms of their needs – but in terms of the gifts they will bring.”

Well! I turned to Patrick on my left – he was wearing a smile a mile wide. I turned to Faye and Steve on my right – and it was clear that we had all recognised a lovely affirmation of what we had sensed that the Holy Spirit had been impressing on our hearts during our MIT meeting the previous evening.

When I got home I emailed those lovely praying ladies again “There is surely no question now that your prayers for us have been well and truly answered! Thank you again – so very much! Please be encouraged!”

But more was to come

The next morning we arrived for the second day of the PMC conference. Bob Armstrong came over to talk to me. He asked if I knew anything about the growing movement in the UK of people praying for their their streets. “I do“, I replied. “In fact, I’ve written about it in the blog page on Prayer and Blessing. The link is on the little leaflet I gave you yesterday.” Bob asked some more questions then the meeting resumed.

Later he said that he always trusts that God is forming a prayer team whenever there is a movement of the Spirit afoot. “Without God this is just a bunch of activity,” he explains “With him this is the ministry of our Living Lord Jesus. I want nothing less.”

So – this is very much about the prayers of those lovely ladies at the prayer evening. And there are others who have been praying for PMC and for our community. It’s also about those who’ve worked so hard for the past eighteen months to establish PMC in Woosehill Church. Most of all it’s about God responding to prayer and calling the church to pray for our neighbourhood.

Even my embarrassing gaffe ‘worked together for good‘ because if I’d known who Bob was when he joined our little group I would never have dared to give him that little leaflet.  And all of this puts me in mind of the prayer at the end of the very first post on this blog:-

Dedicated to God

Dear God, we dedicate this blog to you and ask you to make it your own. It is our desire that you should be seen to be at work in our church and in our neighbourhood, drawing hearts to your heart and transforming lives. And we want to record what you do – for your glory, for the building up of our faith and for the sake of precious souls in our community who desperately need you. We want this blog to to prove that you are a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering Heavenly Father, who still wants to demonstrate the love that took Jesus to the cross and the power that raised Him from the dead.

Please pray

Perhaps you could come to the Woosehill Church prayer meeting on the 3rd Thursday of every month. You would be so welcomed! If you can’t do that – let me repeat what I wrote on that little leaflet. Could you spare less than a minute a day to pray for and bless the families, homes, schools, churches etc. of our community? So much violence and tragedy in the news lately! No wonder God is calling people all around our country and all around our world to pray for their communities!

Click here to get some short prayers and to read about the amazing things that God has been doing all over Britain and around the world in response to prayer and blessing.

Your prayers would be so valued – and so worthwhile!

 

A quote

I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of our prayers make, and all the people those little prayers were destined to affect, and all the consequences of those prayers down through the centuries, we would be so paralysed with awe at the power of prayer that we would be unable to get up off our knees for the rest of our lives.” (Peter Dreeft, Professor of Philosophy)

 

Follow the blog

The blog will evolve and grow as we, as a church, seek God and share our experiences. There are comment boxes at the bottom of each page – and  a contact page where you can share your own experience of what God is doing.

It would be lovely, too, if you would click the orange ‘Follow‘ button on the bottom of any page to receive a notification whenever there is a new post on the blog.

 

Why a blog?

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So what’s PMC all about then?” I asked at my first Mission Innovation Team (MIT) meeting. PMC, MIT, The Village, People of Peace – goodness me I seemed to be listening to a foreign language! By the end of the evening I was no wiser! Yet I was intrigued.

Where’s God in all this” I asked at the second meeting. The leaders patiently did their best to answer my barrage of questions. I went home understanding only slightly more. So – when in doubt turn to good old Google! I spent several hours looking up everything I could find about PMC. At the end of it I understood why the leaders had struggled to answer my questions – and why I’d had so many questions in the first place! Nevertheless, I was beginning to get excited.

A bit fuzzy

PMC, is appears, is meant to be ‘a bit fuzzy’ – leaving room for God to direct each church individually. But I’m a northerner – I like plain speaking – I need to keep things simple! And I felt that – even while allowing for God to direct – it could be better explained in plain, jargon-free language! In fact – I came across a video by another northerner – Peter Barrett from All Saints in Wokingham – explaining how confusing it had all been to the PMC team there. Phew – what a relief – it wasn’t just me being none too bright!

Peter Barrett on figuring out what PMC means in Wokingham

I love what Peter says about God working in All Saints through ‘coincidences’ – and ‘God moments’ – that He was at work even before they started the process. Ah – at last – someone was talking my language! God-incidences! This has been the story of my life for almost four decades!

You see, with the help of good old Google, I’d already begun to pick up on the fact that PMC is all about looking to God to see where He is working in our lives, in our church and neighbourhood, and spotting how he is directing and providing for us. I had no problem whatsoever relating to that concept. After all these years,  it’s second-nature to me now.

For confused people like me

Yet – for the previous 18 months I hadn’t got my head round PMC at all. I’d heard mention of PMC in church. I’d even been to a meeting where we all put sticky notes on a timeline – a long sheet of paper with years on it. But it simply hadn’t ‘registered’ as part of the PMC process.

As early as my second MIT meeting I’d suggested that we needed a blog – for confused, plain-speaking people like me to go to for a simple explanation of what PMC is all about. And a place where we could update people on what we feel God’s doing and what we’re learning as we go along.

God kept ‘showing up’

You see – though I’d experienced a very dramatic conversion, my early Christian life had been a case of “one step forward and two steps backward‘  – progressing to “two steps forward and one step backward“. Yet all the time God kept on “showing up” in these “God-incidences”, bearing patiently with my failings and enabling me to learn my best lessons through my worst mistakes.

He’s even used me – with all my faults and failings. And He’s directed and provided the work I’ve been doing for Him. He’s brought incredible people into my life. He’s answered my prayers. He’s provided for me. He’s transformed me. He’s given me purpose and immense joy. I owe everything to Him.

Excited about PMC

So that’s why I’m excited about PMC, in spite of my initial confusion, in spite of the jargon. I’m excited because I know from personal experience that God responds to us when we ask Him to direct and teach us. He responds in very real, tangible ways.

And that’s why I’ve created this blog – because PMC could turn out be the best thing that’s ever happened to us, individually and as a church,  if we can only ‘get our heads round’ it all and get excited about what God wants to do.

Follow the blog

The blog will evolve and grow as we, as a church, seek God and share our experiences. There are comment boxes at the bottom of each page – and  a contact page where you can share your own experience of what God is doing. It would be lovely, too, if you would click the orange ‘Follow‘ button on the bottom of any page to receive a notification whenever there is a new post on the blog.

So here’s our new blog. Let’s create a God-glorifying record of what He does in our church and in our neighbourhood!

Eileen Fletcher

So – what does God want to do in Woosehill Church?

Click here to listen to Richard Lamey explaining his vision for the parish

 

A prayer

Dear God, we dedicate this blog to you and ask you to make it your own. It is our desire that you should be seen to be at work in our church and in our neighbourhood, drawing hearts to your heart and transforming lives. And we want to record what you do – for your glory, for the building up of our faith and for the sake of precious souls in our community who desperately need you. We want this blog to to prove that you are a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering Heavenly Father, who still wants to demonstrate the love that took Jesus to the cross and the power that raised Him from the dead.