Letter to Church Family
St Mary's Church Purton – Sunday Services
Dear Members of the Church Family
With this letter we have enclosed a Questionnaire about our Church services.
As many of you will know, during the past months of the various “lockdowns” we have been undergoing a Renewal of the St Mary’s Church building. As a part of this Renewal process, we are also taking the opportunity to review the Church services we offer so our Renewed building has a Renewed focus. We are committed to keep a balance between traditional and contemporary services. But we want to consider how we might enhance all the Church services we offer with the aim of better meeting St Mary's Church's vision: “Knowing Christ and making Christ known”.
- The original aim for the Renewal Project was to provide "a sensitive enhancement of this beautiful building to help serve and inspire the people of Purton now and into the future to the glory of God." In parallel we also need to look at "a sensitive enhancement to the Church services to help serve and inspire the people of Purton now and into the future to the glory of God".
- As we prepare to reopen the Renewed building we have an opportunity for our Church Family to share God’s love with our Village. We propose to focus some (of our limited) resources on helping to introduce people to God and Church whilst ensuring the tradition and needs of the existing congregation are also maintained. To strike the right balance we need to understand the different perspectives of those within the Church Family, the wider community and beyond.
- We enclose a Questionnaire to survey your views (it is also available on our website if you would prefer to fill in an online version). This will present you with an opportunity to respond and give us a picture of your viewpoint and ideas as we move forward. Please pray that God will guide each of us to make appropriate responses so we can know His direction for the way ahead. Please return it by 31st March 2021 to one of the addresses at the end of the Questionnaire or phone if you need it to be collected from your home.
- We would love to know how we can make you feel more welcome in the Church building that has been the place where so many in our community have gathered over the past 700+ years whether on a weekly basis or whether to mark significant events in their family lives.
- We are wanting to understand current and future needs, so that we can (with God’s help) enhance services and grow the Church with the benefit of your replies.
- Due to the ongoing uncertainty of the Covid 19 restrictions we do not yet know the pattern of services that we will be able to offer initially in the Church building. To attend in person you will probably have to book a place in advance, practice social distancing, and not be able to sing or to talk to others. However we hope to return to a more welcoming approach as soon as government regulations permit.
- To start with we may just have one service per week which will also be on Zoom. After the restrictions are removed we are hoping to offer a balance of pre-Covid services and a series of new services/events aimed at growing the Church. This will mean the breadth of pre-Renewal/ pre-Covid services will be maintained but the frequency will be reduced to allow time and opportunity for these new services/events.
- We recognise that during Covid only certain groups have been able to meet on Zoom and that as a village community we represent a wide variety of traditions and needs. We want to help as many as possible to feel welcomed as part of the Church Family. We would like to receive your responses to the questionnaire so we are able to shape the services we offer to those who already attend and to those who might like to start coming.
- Please see our Church website www.stmaryspurton.org for more information or contact using the details below. We cannot visit people in their homes due to Covid at the moment, however please be assured that we pray regularly for our whole community. If you would value particular prayer or if either I or others from St Mary’s can be of any help to you, then please be in touch.
We are enclosing our updated Church Family Prayer Calendar to help us all to know when we are being prayed for and to support us in praying for each other, as God said in His Word “Pray always for all God’s people”. [Ephesians 6:18] It is my prayer that we can support and encourage each other in this way.
Finally we enclose two copies of our Easter Leaflet, one for you to keep and one to give away (as we are not delivering to the whole Parish this year). If you need extra copies please let us know.
Your Vicar and Friend
Ian Revd Ian Tweedie-Smith
12 March 2021