Introduction from Mark
It started as a day, and became a weekend. Our Church Day away at home is now running across three sites from Friday 1st July, to Sunday 3rd, and is a great opportunity to pause, to worship, to reflect and to pray about where we believe the Lord is leading us.
It has been an incredibly eventful few years for both St. Andrew’s and St. John’s. Both have lost vicars and negotiated interregnums; and have been joined together in a Benefice under a single Priest-in-Charge. As the dust settles, what does this all mean for our experience of being the Church here in East Ipswich? Over the weekend, we will be thinking and praying together about 5 priorities that will be shaping our life together as we step into the future we believe God has ordained for us.
My prayer is that the weekend will be characterised by a deep humility; as it must be if we are considering questions about the future. And yet these 5 priorities are born out of sustained prayer and conversation within our leadership teams. Please be praying for the Weekend over the next few weeks. And please plan to be there for as much of our time together as you can. One advantage of having a weekend ‘at home’ (rather than away) is to enable as many people to be involved as possible. We are not charging for the weekend, there are no transport issues to contend with, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort and familiarity of your own home. Even if
you aren’t able to join us for the whole time ‘away’, you could hopefully still spend a good chunk of weekend with us. Given how key these few days will be in terms of charting the way forward, I’m not shy about asking that it be made a priority wherever possible.
Oh yeah – and please bring a cake for us to share in coffee breaks!
Some practical considerations
There is no charge for the weekend. ‘We are the Church’ is a weekend that has been set up so as to create minimal workload and to incur minimal cost. We aren’t ‘going away’; we are asking for people to bring their own lunch; and we aren’t using a marquee or anything that requires significant financial outlay. There aren’t any big jobs that need to be done (we are having people come to run children’s work on the Saturday, and to cook the BBQ for us). The sessions will have a minimalist feel. The plan is to make sure that it is as easy to attend the sessions as possible, and to be able to focus on the content of those sessions without distraction. If you would like to make a donation to the cost of the weekend, please feel free to do so, via your Church office.
Parking over the weekend
Please be aware that parking is limited at the school, and on Victory Road. If you are driving, then you are free to use the car park at St. John’s on Cauldwell Hall Road throughout Saturday, which is about a 5 minute walk from Victory Road.
School Staff & Volunteers
There are a number of people who worship in our Churches who are connected with the School in various ways. It will be tempting to ask them to ‘work’ on the Saturday, when we are based there. Please don’t. They are there to enjoy being part of the fellowship and to pray with us about the future we believe God is calling us into.
There will be children’s sessions running parallel with the adult sessions throughout Saturday. We are grateful to Lucy Mortlock, from Rushmere Christian Fellowship who will run the children’s programme. Please note there is no children’s provision on Friday Evening. There will be Sunday Groups as usual on Sunday morning, alongside our usual Communion service.
I can’t make the whole weekend, should I still come?
You are welcome to make it to as many of the weekend’s sessions as you are able. Each session will revolve around a key priority that will shape the life of our congregations going forward, so each is important.
What happens in the sessions?
While there will be some variation, each session will include a time of worship, a chance to hear about a key priority, and the opportunity to spend some time in prayer with others about what we’ll be hearing about.