In 2011 the parish adopted the phrase ‘Loving God and our Neighbours in South Shoebury’ as our simple vision statement. We feel we are here to be a worshipping Christian presence in South Shoebury and to be a blessing to our local community.
During the past few years we have particularly developed our commitment to pray together for ourselves, for the parish and for the world and this now happens every day in one of our churches.
We set ourselves the challenge of developing our work with children and families and we are encouraged with how this is growing. Messy Church and other Messy events, our Toddler Group, our young people’s group, links with schools and the Bible Club in Hinguar School have seen many opportunities to share the Christian faith with many local children. It would be great to see a few more on a Sunday morning but we recognise that this is difficult for many families and so are happy to seek opportunities to enable families to come to worship God at other times.
With our beautiful and open churchyard we were keenly aware of the many bereaved people in our parish and wanted to offer support. In 2012 we began our partnership with Stibbards in providing a place (Tuesday afternoon coffee time) where bereaved people can come and make friends and receive encouragement. Our two annual memorial services further provide a space where grieving people can remember and feel cared for.
Throughout the year we provide opportunities for people to grow in faith and our study groups and especially our 6 week enquirer’s groups are good places to learn more about God, the Bible and prayer and we will continue to develop these.
Another task we set ourselves was to make contact with local care homes and offer opportunities for worship and encouragement. We visit 4 local homes and it is a joy to spend time with the residents.
As a parish we support various charities and missionary activities. We are privileged to have Ann-Marie Wilson as our link missionary. She campaigns globally against the practice of female genital mutilation and we have been moved and challenged by her work. We also support the work of Mission Aviation Fellowship, HARP, SHARE and the Children’s Society amongst other organisations. We remember the work of these regularly in our prayers as well as supporting them financially.
Many of the aims and objectives we have set ourselves over the past few years have been achieved, at least in part. For this coming year we have taken our Bishop’s challenge to reach out to our parish with the good news of God’s love.
We are encouraged that our Sunday attendance is increasing but we know there are many in our community who don’t know there is a God who loves them. So, our main task is to help people come to discover that for themselves.