Thank you to all those participating at the Future Directions Meeting last Sunday. Through the meeting we realised that we needed more prayer and more analysis, but were also clear that the process could not be drawn out. We want to be responsible stewards of what is entrusted to us.
As we look into the future, we want to continue the strengths of our church. People mentioned in particular the welcoming nature of the congregation, the real interest people show in others, the support and kindness they have received and the important role of music.
We looked at changes inside and outside the church: an elderly, reducing congregation that is facing greater expenses (maintenance and compliance costs) at a lower income, and also the role of technology in the Church; the increasing secularism in society and demographic changes.
Overall, there was a desire to keep and maintain the heritage church in an attractive setting, to make the church and grounds welcoming for contemplation and reflection throughout the week, so that people can “refresh the soul”.
An important direction was addressing community needs, possibly through converting the hall complex into an attractive community hub. We decided to work with other organisations to identify unmet needs. Overall, we wanted to see many people using the facilities. Other projects to address needs, such as a community garden or housing, were mentioned, too.
Whatever we do, it has to be put on a sound financial footing. That’s where a prudent use of the property comes in. At vestry earlier in the month we were also reminded of the key connection that we have with the Papanui Youth Development Trust. As we consider the options, let us pray for God’s guidance.