Helping People to Meet God • Make Friends • Grow in Faith

Mission Action Planning

In 2021 the local Synod adopted the Diocesan Mission Action Plan (DMAP). This called for ministry units to develop their own mission action plan with the support of the Missional Leader. In light of this the Archdeacon for Regeneration and Mission, Mark Chamberlain, was with us last Sunday to lead us in this process. Vestry and other parishioners were part of the workshop. Mark outlined the changing religious landscape in “Western” countries, moving from Christendom to a period when Christianity is a minority faith. At this time we are in a transitional period. Even though Christianity may not be publicly so acceptable, it does not mean that God’s mission to reach people has stopped. He spoke about the mission Dei, the mission of God. God is constantly going about mission on his own terms. But the God of mission also calls us to bear witness to who God is, to tell what God has done in Jesus Christ, and to partner in God’s work in the world by going out to be salt and light.
Mark also listed the factors that research indicates contributes to the growth of churches—numerical, spiritual and missional growth.
We were invited to think about the particular blessings and advantages St Paul’s already enjoys. We mentioned Open Church, partnering with LOOP youth ministry, the bells, involvement with the Dove Bookshop, excellent gifts among parishioners such as music, the grounds and prominent location, house group, knitting group, and the involvement with rest homes. We then looked at some of the demographics of the surrounding area, noting that Papanui had more older people than the national average, possibly due to the many rest homes. Nevertheless, there are still many younger people with children, with the 45-49 age group representing the largest age demographic group. Among immigrants people from the United Kingdom and the Philippines stood out, possibly also due to the rest homes. Papanui was slightly poorer than the national or Christchurch average. As in many other places, the number of people officially calling themselves Anglicans has drastically declined, the number of people with no religion has increased, while Catholics have stayed stable.

In light of Mark’s presentation and our discussion we set three missional priorities: 1. Develop ministry to children and families. 2. Building the faith and knowledge of the parish 3. Improve the promotion of the Parish – in particular link with businesses and travellers These are things in addition to what we are already working on doing such as: – improving the functionality and outreach of the hall complex – develop pastoral care of Parish – foundation of prayer.

All these have to come together to enable growth. As set out in the Diocesan process and in consultation with the Wardens, and implementation group has been formed that suggests actions to implement the missional priorities. At this stage it consists of Liz van Til and John Stringer working with the Vicar. While Liz takes a step back from the warden’s role, it is in this area that she can contribute. Lindsay Trott will continue to be the Vicar’s Warden. I hope that over the next months we can see some opportunities that contribute to making these priorities reality.