Your dream for Church

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My dream for all our churches is that they grow. Grow in the number of people who come, and grow in depth of faith and action. My dream for our worship on Sundays is that the buildings will be full of the people of our villages every Sunday, singing and sharing because they know that God loves them. My dream is that people who life has crushed will find new hope with us. My dream is that God will be noticeably present in our churches, wiping away every tear, healing the sick, comforting those who mourn, clothing the poor and housing the homeless. My dream is that young and old alike will worship together in joy and honesty. My dream is for a generous gracious forgiveness to flow from God, into our lives and into the world around us. My dream is that we are all blessed by God and that the blessings of God will overflow from us into the world around us. That is my dream.

I hope this ignites a conversation in our churches, homes and villages… let’s talk about our dreams for God’s Church in this place. I have already asked our Church community for their dreams for St James’, St Bartholomew’s, Shred and HomeChurch.

I have anonymised the replies and share them here, please add your dreams for Church in the comments below.


My dream is of God’s fire illuminating the inside of each home in the village. Of his unstoppable Holy Spirit drenching each member of each family, bringing a spirit of repentance and unquenchable desire for God that nothing, nothing, else can satisfy. That streams of God’s children will pour into St Bartholomew’s every Sunday, seeking, finding, worshipping and glorifying their Saviour.


The words I would use to express my dream for our church I guess relate to Shred as that is ‘church’ for me.

I dream that our church will have open doors, and a welcome heart, holding gently our community. Our small church filled with all ages, all smiles, all songs, all love. We will gather, we will share, we will laugh, we will celebrate, we will support, we will care.

Gosh it makes me quite sad thinking about this as Shred is all of these things and the reason me and my family ‘do’ church. I miss all those things but look forward to times, that I hope are close, when Shred can do all of this with ease, as it always has.

I hope me and family can take a walk Easter Sunday up to Shred as we did last year, such a special day for all churches but Shred in particular, we did this last year as I hated the thought of our church being alone on such a day with no voices and hearts inside. Funny because as we were there a few other Shreddies passed by too!

Thank you for prompting me to remember what our lovely church offers.


My dream is a church that is a for the hub of the village. It is, or has a sacred space. It has a meeting/social space, it has activity going on throughout the day eg maybe a community shop / cafe / library / activities. The building can be a worship place a meeting place a concert place that is ‘owned’ by the people of Marsden not just emotionally but as an asset to the community.


Our Sunday Home Church Worship is a lovely friendly service where we have Carol and Ali to lead us through our worship. It is also nice when some of us take part in the service. Also I feel we still have God’s Blessing. Home Church at the moment, is a place where you feel safe and relaxed even though you are in your own home. We particularly enjoys the modern hymns, songs which are a welcome change to some of the traditional, slightly sombre hymns.


I don’t have a dream- I would prefer reality. A church at the centre of the community with community events and accessible to all. A building where people are happy to come and feel welcome, whether on Sunday or any other day. A place of bustle, joy and humanity, music and hospitality and offering events for all ages. A church that engages with local problems and that is linked in with village life. Where people can see that by our lives and deeds that we are true Christians


When I saw your email I thought about your question for a while and the main thing I kept coming back to was that my dream church would be WELCOMING. I would like any one who comes along to feel really at home in the building and in the company of the congregation. It would be nice to know the names of most people who attend. I’m sure you already DO know most folks names but I am guessing most of us don’t?


My dream is that every church will be full to the rafters after Covid. My dream is that everyone will go to church and give thanks to God that they have survived Covid. Not everyone has survived and they should not be forgotten.


My dream for our church is that we make it the hub of our community. That more people attend (me included) which I will when we can. That we can pray and also sing our hearts out. I also hope we can raise the funds to bring it back to its former glory. Which I am willing to help with that.
My dream is that our service on Sunday can be a bit later.


My dream is that our local church family is a ‘force for good’. That everyone can feel they are not alone, and that there can be peace and stillness in our hearts and between people and nations. That the natural world can be seen as a wonderful gift to help us feel that peace and wonder. That differences are good and celebrated, and make up a rich tapestry of community – so that everyone can contribute and everyone is valued.

That the church does things for a reason, intentionally, and not just because we’ve always done it…. although stewardship of tradition and heritage is also important to give us all anchors.


I dream of, hope for, plan for, and EXPECT with excitement and lots of prayer:
Challenges
Disappointments
Surprises
Signs that God is at work, stirring up, prompting, calling people to respond.
What will it look like? Maybe some of the following:
Doors open, decent coffee brewing in the kitchen. The worship team making a terrible noise practising by the piano for next Sunday night’s Youth service. The website advertising some or all of the following all happening in the next few days:
Bible study group
Discussion group
worship team
Youth group
Quiet days
Prayer chain contact
Drop-in coffee – and-jigsaw mornings
Parish weekends away (Scargill? Iona? Somewhere else?)
Meanwhile after the Sunday service, we are kept back with ears bent by enthusiastic people suggesting things they are interested in doing.
For example – a summer Holiday club
The phone rings – it is another of the schools wanting an extra service in church, or asking for greater involvement from us
We begin to notice a hunger for deeper prayer life, an awareness of world church family, a greater awareness of what different parishioners are already doing in social justice action locally and further afield.

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5 Comments

  1. Comment from Marsden resident via Facebook:

    My dream would be that the church welcomes more people, that schools use the church more and that people find comfort and solace with in the walls. St Bartholomew’s used to be full we had choirs, bands, bell ringers, play groups, childrens corner etc. We welcomed weddings christening and baptisms, my worry would be that if the congregation was no more what would happen to this beautiful church . I hope people will start coming on a Sunday again now we allowed to open again.

  2. Another comment from a Marsden resident via Facebook:

    My dream is to see both our churches in the village working together to reach out and grow, welcoming more people into our congregations and groups and being there for all.

  3. A third comment from another Marsden resident via Facebook:

    My dream for St Bartholomew’s church would be that it’s open every day to everyone of any denomination, that it offers safe space and sanctuary to those in need, that children, parents and carers have access to a fun and vibrant space, that people can go and share a tea, coffee and cake whilst having a chat, that it can be filled with music. My dream is also that money can be raised to stop the building from crumbling. If nothing else this building is beautiful and nobody can deny that it needs to be saved.

  4. A comment I’ve received by email regarding Marsden:

    I have been thinking about this and while of course I would like to see what every one else wants, a full church, thriving clubs for youngsters and all the rest. However what I really think we should address is what worries me every time I go in to help clean the church. The creeping rising of the ground under my feet when I walk the pews, the continuing crumbling of the walls that crunches under my feet that I hoover up and sweep from the carvings on the reredos. The mosaics that are being destroyed in front of my eyes that have now moved and are lifting the carpet on the steps to the altar. If we continue to ignore them the church will not survive into the future. Sorry to be so gloomy but it worries me when I hear all the grand plans for the future if the church can’t survive the now.

    I live with hope and prayer

  5. Another response by email from Marsden:

    “I have been thinking a lot about my vision for the church in Marsden/ Colne Valley. I have personally found the question unhelpful as my first answer would be “I want a church where everyone is welcome and where Gods great love is evident in every aspect of the church life” but then I think well isn’t that what every church in the world wants? By saying this is what I want the vision to be, am I actually saying Marsden Church has been doing something wrong all these years? I don’t think we could be called an unwelcoming church; I don’t think we are a racist or homophobic church; I think over the years we have generously supported large numbers of local and national charities and tried to support the community in any way we can. Over the same number of years, we have seen numerous interregnums with different vicars coming and going and different levels of apathy to the struggles of the dedicated people who have keep the church going in Marsden, I am not surprised then that we have sometimes lost our “mojo”. When looking at the information links which Alison F sent out about the vision of the Church, I found a link about Growth Groups and have listened to the virtual conference, I found it immensely comforting to hear it recognised and articulated that a constant church Presence is vital and that sometimes victory just looks like staying.

    I find it difficult not to feel overwhelmed by the thought of conceiving a vision of the future as there are obviously two very big issues, that are separate, but in fact very much linked, spiritual growth and practical upkeeping.

    I think that the only way in which the church will grow in our community and nationally is if people see that it is RELEVANT in their lives. For a number of reasons, some of which have been touched on in the report A Vision for the Church of England in the 2020s, I believe that less and less people do find it relevant now. However, I also don’t think we should just throw in the towel and give up, to become more relevant I think we need to be ‘Christ centred and Jesus shaped’, Simpler, humbler, bolder. We need to think out of the box and look for ways in which we can become more present in the day to day lives of people, we need to open our door more and encourage people to be a part of our church community and I believe this can be through social action and a willingness to be part of community events and ask for volunteers to be a part of our events. The building may not be the most important part of the church but it has been a constant presence in Marsden and it is what people identify with. Although I am not sure of what the final vison will look like, I feel that there are some significant things we should prioritise in our building such as drains, toilets and an appropriate area to make simple drinks and snacks. I have absolutely no idea about the practical issues of installing these into a listed building but this is something that we should be discussing with the relevant people within the dioceses and with the future architect, not in endless round and round discussions during PCC meetings. I also have no idea about funding these projects, I understand that grants are very difficult to get so maybe we won’t be able to complete any visions for the church as a building in Marsden but surely, we should pursue every avenue and seek out any help which is available. I do hope that a date for the vision meeting will be set soon and that it will be productive not just a repetition of things which were discussed in 2015 and then left in a folder for years. I do pray that the diocese will support us and give us help and advice but most of all I do hope that we can develop a “Christ centred Jesus shaped” relevant church in Marsden. “

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