Our vision is to be a growing community where God is found in the beauty and joy of our worship, the warmth of our welcome, the breadth of our outreach and our love for our neighbour.
We are an Inclusive church, rooted in the local community. Our worship and music express the liberal Anglican tradition. We welcome all without exception, irrespective of gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or church background and you are most welcome to come along and see what you make of us.
If you would like more information, please contact our vicar, Revd Susan Bolen or visit the Inclusive Church website.
Since the arrival of Revd Susan Bolen as our new vicar in 2019, the leadership team of St Paul’s has been in the process of discerning together with the congregation and wider community about who we are called to be at this time for this community. We have reflected and prayed about what our focus and priorities should be for the ministry and mission of St Paul’s. This work has been quite fruitful. Together we believe we are called
To be a growing community
where God is found
in the beauty and joy of our worship,
the warmth of our welcome,
the breadth of our outreach
and our love for our neighbours
The primary focus of our attention will be in the areas of:
Outreach – to our local community, addressing their cares and concerns;
Welcome – to all who come to us, either in person or online. We are open for all;
Nurture – Churches that actively nurture disciples are more likely to be growing. In seeking to grow St Paul’s, it is essential we attend to growth in spiritual depth, and support people as they seek to live as Christians in daily life;
Environment - we aim to take the practical steps necessary to realise the Fifth Mark of Mission: “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain the life of the earth”.
Our Achievements Thus Far
Despite the difficulties the pandemic has caused, St Paul’s has achieved a great deal in the past year, thanks to the generous donations of time and gifts. We have successfully established:
St Paul’s Pantry – which offers food and other essentials to people in need in our community;
St Paul’s Covid Angels – which provides volunteers to shop, run errands, walk dogs or simply listen;
New website and branding – the first contact most people have with churches is through their websites. St Paul’s has been using Churchdesk, our chosen church management software system, for rotas, file sharing, hall and church bookings and a number of other back office tasks. We now have established a new, more user friendly and informative website which sits on this same platform.
New audio/video system – St Paul’s has installed a high quality pan-tilt-zoom camera and audio/video equipment which enable us to broadcast services to people at home. It has meant that we have been able to create and maintain a sense of community with our congregation as well as people who live far away. And during an unprecedented and unexpected year of isolation and closed buildings we have been able to worship TOGETHER.
Near Term Goals
We need to continue to realise our vision. Our next priorities are to:
- Employ a Youth and Children’s Worker on a part-time basis
- Improve first impressions of St Paul’s, focusing on
Exterior areas (fence, gardens, disabled parking)
- Raise our environmental awareness and responsibility (e.g. become an Eco-church)
Bridging the Gap and Moving Forward
In 2020, the pandemic’s biggest impact on our finances was via the closure of the community centre and church to bookings for most of the year, leaving us with a reduction of £20,000 in income, mainly from church and community centre hire, compared to 2019.
Thanks to the generosity of the congregation in 2020, our donations increased to compensate for this loss (and also enabled urgent developments like livestreaming and the Pantry). We were also able to reduce some of our costs and take advantage of the government furlough scheme.
In 2021, we anticipate that our income will be reduced by a similar amount, with the community centre likely to be at much lower capacity until late summer. Hoping that we can further reduce expenditure a bit, we would still be heading for a gap between income and expenditure of at least £10,000.
We do have some reserves to draw on. However, when we have taken out of the reserves the cost of repaying roof loans from the congregation due this year, urgent repairs to the community centre windows, and funds which are dedicated for specific purposes, we are left with just under the equivalent of 3 months' normal expenditure in our reserves, which is a crucial buffer in our finances to allow us to meet any contingencies (like another lump of stone falling from our window tracery!) So there is no potential for covering a deficit of £10,000 from our reserves.
This means that there is an immediate need to bridge the gap of at least £10,000 between our income and expenditure.
At the same time we are really keen to also move forward with some of our vision. In particular to employ a part-time youth worker for 2 years, which will fulfil the highest priority need identified by our congregation and community.
We would therefore encourage everyone to continue in the generosity shown towards St Paul’s ministry and work last year.
- If our donations stayed at 2019 levels, then we would effectively be running with a deficit of £10,000, and with less than three months normal expenditure in our reserves to cover contingencies.
- If 2020’s generosity continued into 2021, then we would have a surplus of £10,000 and would be able to restore the 3 month contingency.
- If we raise a further £10,000 then we would have £20,000 to put towards our vision projects, such as hiring a youth worker.
We very much appreciate any gifts whether of time or money or appropriate goods e.g. for the Pantry. We have been working to make it easier to donate money, in whatever ways are most convenient for you.
We strongly recommend that if you wish to give a regular donation, monthly, quarterly or annually, you do it by direct debit through our new Diocese-supported Parish Giving Scheme (PGS), which is very user-friendly and cost-saving for St Paul’s.
Full details of this and of a wide range of other ways of donating are available in church or go to Giving to St Paul's on the website.
Please prayerfully consider how you can support the mission and growth of St. Paul's