About us

Our vision

Since 2006 we have had a Mission Action Plan which gives a shape to our vision, and guides our actions. We try to make it specific – it’s as important that we are helped to say “No” to something worthy but irrelevant (or impossible) as to say “Yes, now let’s get on and do it”.

The current MAP has five elements:

  1. Worshipping God
  2. Serving our Community
  3. Encouraging each other
  4. Drawing people to Jesus
  5. Keeping the show on the road

You can download the latest version of the Mission Action Plan. Follow the links above to see what we’re doing at the moment – or simply continue on to What we do.

Leadership

The main governing body in a Church of England parish is the Parochial Church Council (PCC) which is made up of clergy, Readers, Church Wardens, Synod reps and other church members, elected each April at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting.

Children

We are committed to welcoming and including children in our worship and church life. Children who come to the Sunday service are invited to go to a short Sunday School session during the service – they come back in time for the heart of the worship. Each January we hold a children’s party, with traditional party games (and a party tea) as well as disco dancing, etc. On Good Friday morning the children come and make our Easter Garden. Before Christmas we have a Craft event, when children and adults together make things, then take them into the church for the Crib Service. And each month we hold an all-age service, when adults and children worship God and learn together. We have worked hard on our Safeguarding policies, and do all we can to make St Peter’s a safe and happy environment for children to grow in.

What we do

1. Worshipping God

“Well, yes, we’d expect a church to do that…” Yes, and if we stopped worshipping God, or stopped believing in what we did, or lost confidence in the God we worship, we’d stop being a church! Worship isn’t just something we feel we have to do – it’s where we get strength for everything else we do. It’s where we get in touch with God, learn old and new things about God, give God “worth-ship”. And it’s from our worship that we are guided to get involved in the life of our community.

The style of our worship is quite traditional, but over the years we’ve slowly changed, to include some more modern songs, and in the last few years to become more child-friendly without losing the reverence that’s appropriate to being with God. We haven’t got it right yet – we’re on a journey…

When do we worship God? – Our main service is at 10am on Sunday mornings. It’s a Parish Eucharist, with sung settings of some parts of the service (which the children learn very quickly, as we sing them every week), Bible readings, a sermon and prayers, and the blessing and sharing of the bread and wine.

The service includes “family time”, with notices and celebration of people’s birthdays and anniversaries. And we stay afterwards for a drink and biscuit in the hall.

Note: Eucharist means Thanksgiving. It’s another name for Holy Communion – Communion means being closely together, with God and each other. Yet another name is “Mass”, which comes from the last part of the service, when we are dismissed to serve God back in the world.

We also hold a regular Communion service at 9.30am on Wednesdays. This is a quieter service, using the older Prayer Book form of worship. But the atmosphere of prayer, and listening to the sermon, is just as deep.

We hold baptism services on Sundays, at a time that suits the family and the church. These are booked with the family concerned, as are weddings, which take place on Saturday afternoons (usually!). And, of course, we welcome families to funerals in church, as well as at the local crematorium.

And, day by day, we pray Morning Prayer in the small chapel at the east end of the church. Sometimes it’s only one person – sometimes it’s half a dozen. We read the Bible, praise God in words ancient or modern, and pray for our world, our church and especially for our parish of Braunstone Park.

2. Serving our Community

The church is there, not just for itself or its members, but for the whole world. Our bit of the world is the Braunstone estate, and we know we have a bottom-line commitment to that estate. Trouble is, that’s the commitment that gets forgotten or neglected most easily, when we’re stressed or stretched!

It isn’t in the Mission Action Plan, but church members have a long tradition of involvement in the local community – historically including school governors and board members of the Braunstone Community Association, and now including the Residents’ Network, Local History Group, “Talk Time” with elderly people, the Braunstone Artists’ Group, and especially Braunstone Foodshare, started by St Peter’s and now run by a committee of local people at St Peter’s, the United Reformed Church and the Brite Centre. We distribute food bags to about 100 local people every fortnight – it shouldn’t be necessary in a civilised society, but those who come to collect them (more than half in work) show that it is needed.

We take pride in our local environment. St Peter’s members were involved back in 2004 in the refurbishment of Church Field, and we pioneered the “Clean up Braunstone” initiative, now led by the City Council Parks and Gardens team. Our MAP reminds us that we need to practise what we preach, and keep our immediate environment (churchyard and car park) tidy as well.

Although the New Deal for Communities (2000-2010) did a lot to improve the buildings and morale of the Braunstone Estate, poverty still stalks the area. Debt is a real issue, and we are part of an initiative led by another church in our Mission Partnership to provide training to local people in managing their money, and (when we have the proper training ourselves) to give individual advice to people and families in debt.

The Bishop’s Poverty Commission in 2014 revealed how valuable it can be for people facing poverty to be able to come together and share their stories. Churches can be a welcoming place, where that sharing can be encouraged. St Peter’s has started “Open Door”, when we sit in church two mornings a week and invite people to drop in for a drink and a chat. The aim is to have information that can signpost people to the help they need, and also to be hospitable to those who simply wish to talk.

3. Encouraging each other

The people of Braunstone, like many other areas of our cities, have been told for generations that they aren’t up to much. “You live in Braunstone, therefore you must be thick!” goes the tag. This simply isn’t true. And it’s wonderful to see a person, or a whole group, discover that they can do something new and do it well…

Learning is key to empowering. We found ourselves with able people who needed to grow in their faith through more training, but for whom the “normal” training courses would not have been suitable. So, over several years, we formed a team with colleagues in other parishes and the Diocese, and developed a course called “Discovery” which has a new approach. Instead of starting where people are weak and will feel inferior (like book learning) Discovery starts where people are strong, by sharing their experience of life. Then the new learning is building on strength that’s already there, and confidence grows as well as understanding. The diocese now runs Discovery, but St Peter’s pioneered it!

Now we’re looking for ways to help our people grow further. Each autumn we invite newer worshippers to a Christian Basics course. Two church members are running a small group every fortnight in someone’s home, studying the Bible and praying together. We send people on training courses run by the wider church. And we’re working on ways to empower our children, to learn and grow, and to get more involved in worship and activities. (This is taking time – we’re not there yet…)

When the PCC discusses in depth round an issue there is a training element, as we find ways to help the quieter ones be more confident to express their thoughts (and the more talkative ones to be quiet and allow them to speak!). We want to encourage newer church members to get involved, instead of feeling they have to leave it all to those who’ve been around for ages. And we’re beginning to learn how to handle disagreement in a constructive way, as we discuss issues that divide us and seek a consensus, based on our shared concern for God’s mission.

4. Drawing people to Jesus

The church used to be judged on the numbers of people who turned up on a Sunday morning. But Jesus wanted to train disciples – those who would learn in depth from his actions as well as his words, who would get involved and stick with it, even when it got tough. We want to welcome new worshippers in to St Peter’s, and it’s encouraging that a few are joining us. But we want to help them to stick with us, to grow in faith and confidence, and to help others to grow too – even when it gets tough.

Jesus started by preaching to big crowds, but then he spent quality time with individuals who wanted to go further. We don’t exactly preach to big crowds, but the beginning of our call to make disciples is by publicising our activities, and welcoming people in, whether they’ve been before or not.   And when they do come, we have a gentle message for them, linking the activity to the Christian message and inviting anyone who’s interested to take it a bit further.

When people start coming to the services, through our activities or maybe because of a baptism, wedding or funeral, after a bit we invite them to a tea party or a barbeque on the vicarage lawn!   Our hope is that people become friends with each other and with us, as a base from which to grow deeper in a relationship with God.

Then comes the invitation to a Christian Basics course, which for some will lead to formal membership of the Church through Baptism and Confirmation. The numbers of people at this stage are fewer than at the earlier, less demanding stages. But we’re in the business of inviting people, not browbeating or forcing them.

We are learning to enable those who’ve recently been confirmed to take an active part in the church’s life, ministry and even leadership.

5. Keeping the show on the road

We are a church of about 70 signed-up members, and 40 to 50 worshippers per week on average. We manage around £40,000 a year, and we are accountable to church authorities and the Charity Commissioners. This takes a lot of work to keep going. But it would be irresponsible to neglect our building and finances, so we try to look after them in such a way as to further the church’s mission. We want our building to be comfortable and welcoming, for example with our access ramps and disabled-access toilet. The PCC takes time and care over all this – but it’s all in aid of helping our Mission – it’s not an end in itself.

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