Are we fit for purpose(s)?

At a recent meeting of the PCC (Parochial Church Council - our elected governing body), there was on the agenda the question of purchasing new chairs for the church. Paula opened the item by sharing her response to a training session she had attended as a new Diocesan Representative. 

Diocesan Training Day

Some messages I brought away with me from my training day:

Who are we? We are a church. We are a charity. Our aim is not to make a profit. We have a mission for our parish.

‘We must determine our resources in order to achieve our parish mission. Difficult resource decisions need to be mindful of the mission.’ 

Church of the Holy Spirit decided our individual parish mission in our MAP exercise. Our mission was very clearly laid out: 

Silver Socials – reaching out to the older community 

Home groups – spiritual and nurture in a less formal environment 

Youth – to engage the ‘secondary school aged’ parishioners 

In order to achieve our mission we need a number of resources, 2 of the main ones being people and funding. We believe one of our main resources to be our church and contact centre. With these wonderful buildings we can generate funding for our mission. Consequently our church needs to be ‘fit for our purpose(s)’.  

What we want from our church building

1. To provide a fitting worshipful space for the congregation. 

2. To look welcoming, be comfortable and safe – for existing parishioners and inviting of newcomers. 

3. To be used by the local community/groups 

4. A flexible space to be used in a variety of functions 

5. To be useful! 

This is not an exhaustive list. There are a number of suggestions as to how the above can be achieved but one starting point can be with the acquisition of new chairs. New chairs are not vital but they could help us realise points 2, 3, 4 and 5. Not all the current chairs are comfortable or safe – or look particularly inviting.

Local groups using or hiring our church as a facility expect a certain standard. The current chairs do not contribute to flexibility either of space or formation; those which are nailed together by bits of wood are not able to be ‘un-joined’. The single chairs cannot be temporarily linked. It appears that the facility for hassocks was hooks screwed in post-purchase. The chairs do not store.

We have an attractive frontage, a smart sign, effective lighting, a comfortable bench; why not match the inside to the quality of the outside? I do not believe in making profit for profit’s sake but I do believe in providing suitable facilities for current worshippers, attracting new worshippers and appealing to hirers. It’s a virtuous circle as increased hire income can pay for our parish mission and new worshippers can swell the ranks of volunteers, who can then participate in the parish mission. 

Paula Wilson is a member of the PCC, and a parish rep on the Deanery Synod.

MAP - Mission Action Plan
You can read the detailed plans here.

Read about
 the trial of changes to how we use our church.

PCC - Parochial Church Council
You can read all about who is on the PCC, and a record of their meetings, here.

Deanery, Diocese
If you want to know what the deanery or diocese is, you can look here.

Church of England Report on the use of buildings
A major new report was published on 13 October 2015 about what we should consider in planning for using our church buildings. You can read the report here.