News from some of our churches April 2022
Welcome to our Circuit.
There have been lots of developments as activities begin again in our churches and much more is planned for the coming year.
Here is news from just some of our churches – for more details, please visit the individual church websites.
Beacon – Over the last few months there have been two baptisms and some more new members come to the church.
The church is working out how to face the challenges of the rise in electricity and gas prices.
Birchington has raised £280 so far for Ukraine relief through ‘All We Can’, the Methodist Relief Fund.
An ecumenical group of 14 people have been meeting in the church and also Alcoholics Anonymous have been meeting five or six times a week.
Broadstairs congregation is very pleased to have received a silver award for being an ECO Church. They wonder if our Circuit could become the first ECO Circuit. Neil Dobson will come and talk to any of the churches about this. (See below)
The Toddler Group is back on Wednesdays with 26 families attending.
The Sunday School is up and running again as are all the activities were pre-Covid.
Ukraine collections have raised £362 which has gone to through ‘All We Can’ as have their prayers.
Hardres Street. Most of the groups pre-Covid activities are back using the church, one of them is a proper Ramsgate Market on Fridays.
River. The Chit Chat Community Coffee Shop is up and running on Friday mornings, with great support from the community. On Tuesday afternoons there is an after school club and on Wednesday mornings a mother and toddler’s group. The youth group which has children from year 6 to school leaving age meets on Fridays. Several baptisms have been had over the last year with several children in the family, one of these family had joined the Tuesday group.
River church has joined with the local parish church to send many toiletries nappies and other items to Ukraine via the British Humanist charity in Canterbury.
St Johns – The Haven Project which provides shelter for rough sleepers is working very well.
A group ‘Who let the dads out’ had been started to get the dads together with the children doing various crafts and activities. A jumble sale was had to raise money for local charities.
A container has been acquired to send items to Ukraine. People have been asked to donate things like Calpol, sanitary products and nappies.
Sturry. Activities such as the monthly ‘Soup on Saturdays’ is back up and running with about 20 people attending. There is also good attendance at the Wednesday coffee morning are also popular. A very successful Easter activity morning was held on 9th April with many village families joining the fun.
A pastoral care system has been set up to help people across the 5 villages served by Sturry church to stay connected with the church.
There have been a number of baptisms and many weddings are booked for the summer
ECO CHURCH AT BROADSTAIRS
A Rocha UK (ARUK) is a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world and committed to equipping Christians and churches in the UK to care for the environment. Responding to the biblical mandate to care for the earth, and demonstrating the Christian hope for God’s world, we are working with:
Churches through our Eco Church programme
Christian environmental leaders through our interdenominational convening work
Families and individuals through our Wild Christian scheme and community, supporting people to enjoy, nurture and defend nature in their own homes and communities
by campaigning Christian land managers through our Partners in Action network. This network includes our own two nature reserves"
Our free online survey and supporting resources are designed to equip your church to express your care for God’s world in your worship and teaching; in how you look after your buildings and land; in how you engage with your local community and in global campaigns, and in the personal lifestyles of your congregation. Our vision is for churches of all denominations to care for creation as an integral part of loving their neighbours and following God faithfully.
Broadstairs Methodist Church has the only silver award
There are only two bronze awards:
Holy Trinity Margate, and St Peters Church
There are 5 other silver awards near Canterbury all C of E churches.
The nearest silver Methodist is Epsom though I have learnt that Redhill were awarded level 3 under an earlier scheme (out of 5) they are considering reapplying.
As of the end of 2021 there were 4,400 churches registered as Eco Churches, and 1,660 awarded Eco Churches. This includes over 1,150 Bronze and over 350 Silver. As of last week, we now have 24 gold awarded churches too.
Where do we go from here?
We are looking at a further questionnaire, more recycling, investigating bamboo toilet paper and encouraging members to try it!
The Helter Skelter Nursery (who lease our downstairs Halls) are on board looking at growing things and teaching the children as is the Sunday School.
We would also like to consider complementing our solar panels with back up batteries and look at better insulation (where we can).
Please consider looking into becoming an Eco Church. Broadstairs Church is always happy to guide you in the right direction.
Perhaps we should think about becoming an Eco Circuit too!
Mission within the Canterbury and East Kent Circuit Deacon Michelle Legumi
We have an exciting opportunity to develop our work with our local communities.
From September 2022 until July 2025 Michelle Legumi will be spending 25% of her time helping churches in the Circuit to develop their outreach work.
We are looking for 3 churches who would like to develop their mission. If you are interested, please contact Michelle Legumi (deaconmichellelegumi@gmail)
or Angela Pilgrim (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please read the article below to find out more about our project.
Some of what is below was part of a Powerpoint Presentation at the Circuit Meeting 15.03.2022
I wonder if I asked you two questions, what is our mission as church? And what do we need to do to grow? Maybe think about and chat with others about your answers.
We can often think that in order to grow we need to make what we do more exciting and dynamic. This may be true but I wonder even if we put a roller coaster in our buildings whether people would come or not. Certainly they may take a look out of interest. But what will they find beyond the adrenalin ride?
Almost 20 years ago a report was commissioned by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams on Mission Shaped Church. As part of that report Bishop Graham Cray said, “It is becoming clear that many of the people for whom Christ has died are unlikely to be drawn to our existing churches however spiritually alive, hospitable and attractive they are.’ 
I believe that any group or organisation people will want to become part of must connect with them and their daily life, and it must be made up of people being their authentic selves. There must be space for them to bring their whole selves to it to provide a meaningful sense of belonging, which means there must be an openness to embrace the new gifts and skills new people bring and thus change. We can’t just expect people to fit in with us and become like us!
A recent survey discovered that approximately 70% of young people (16-29) in the UK have no religious affiliation (2018). This is a sobering thought.
‘The reality is that mainstream culture no longer brings people to the church door. We can no longer assume that we can automatically reproduce ourselves, because the pool of people who regard church as relevant or important is decreasing with every generation’
Our mission and ministry require openness to God to be changed....
I believe two things are key as we go forward: Being Authentic Community & Making Connections
Being Authentic Community: we are human beings not human doings...we are very good at activity. In the past we may have put on amazing events to include festivals and children and youth events. What about our being- have we ever asked, who we are? In my first appointment in South Wales we asked those part of Mosaic community (a fresh expression of church made up of people who had no previous connections with a faith community), including children, young people and adults: Who are we ? What do we do? Why are we here? Large pieces of paper around the room wrote words/drew pictures – put it together and this became our covenant with each other. All who joined us knew immediately who we were. So what about us? Our church communities? How we relate to each other? What will people discover past the welcome on the door and the first few weeks of being with us? Will anyone notice if they are not there and how will we follow this up?
Who are we: What is at the core of who we are? If we were a stick of rock what would be running through the middle? Is it attractive? Do they see something in us attractive about how we relate to one another; how we care and show love? Will they find us to be real about our struggles or do we hide behind masks. Those seeking help with their mental health has never been so high; thankfully it is talked about much more. If we are going to encourage others to open up about their lives, we can’t remain hidden behind our masks of ‘everything is alright’. People are longing for authenticity and integrity – just think about Partygate and Bernard Castle!
What we say must match up to our lives and if it doesn’t we need to be honest about our struggles...share our vulnerabilities as fellow human beings.
How can we serve in attractive and appealing ways?
Question for Reflection: What will people discover about us as a community when they get to know us?
- How do we include and value everyone? I wonder if we value one another simply because of who we are, or because of what we can offer and how well we do it, e.g. on the flower rota, property secretary, Local Preacher, reader or because we play the organ? If we only value one another because of what we can offer then what about the person who feels they can offer little due to circumstances or physical ability?
As the Deacon based at the Beacon, my role is both with Footprints and also as a representative within the wider community. I seek to make connections and network with organisations and agencies with whom we can partner to express the values of God’s Kingdom. These include Police, NHS, voluntary groups, Dover Big Local, Foodbank; Migrant Help, local community forums and local schools. I am also privileged to be involved with some of the organisations within Dover to support and empower those in poverty including the Sunrise Cafe(Pay What You Can Afford Cafe), Food Pantry, CAP Money Course to help people to budget and Fuel poverty support.
We also connect with individuals who become part of our drop in sessions e.g.
It is about simply offering who we are; our gifts and skills and see what God can do with them to make connections with others!
- Friendly Friday when we share lunch, play games and share a spiritual reflection/pray;
- Creative Church when families meet monthly at the same time as Sunday worship in a different space to engage with crafts, stories, songs, fun & prayer; we all learn and encounter God through one another - young and old.
- Community Cuppa- just launched – we had a meeting to share what is important to us about a coffee morning? Why are we doing it? we are good at thinking about what to do and how to do it, but not so much the why are we doing it? We discussed how everything we do will express something of the nature of God including active listening, hospitality & welcome to all, sharing our stories, quality of coffee and the aesthetics.
- Mindfulness course – making connections with new people and also those we are already in touch with
Making Connections is also to help people to recognise God’s presence in their daily lives – to encourage connection with God who is with them already
So.....what about the churches you represent? What can it mean to be Authentic Christian Community? And how can you make more connections with those you rub shoulders with or can reach out to? You may have heard of the recent report from the Methodist Church God For All adopted at Conference 2020. The Connexional Strategy for Evangelism and Growth is to expand our commitment to be an ‘inclusive, growing, evangelistic and justice-seeking Church – so that new people become disciples of Jesus Christ, faith deepens for everyone, and diverse communities and churches experience transformation.’
We are encouraged to read, Next Steps – a resource based upon the God For All Report and to choose a couple of areas to engage with prayerfully and meaningfully in the season ahead. This may be something you can read and reflect together as a church.
From September onwards and for 3 years 25% of my time will be within the Circuit. My role will be to work alongside 2 or 3 additional places; to come alongside you to help with community engagement and to explore what it can mean to be church in your context.... I invite you to join the Circuit Leadership Team as we prayerfully consider this.
Please do get in touch to join in from September!
Deacon Michele Legumi
 Mission - Shaped Church, Church Publishing House, 2004
 Mission-Shaped Church, page 11