It was a delight to join in the final weekend of what has been a year of celebrations to mark the 40th Anniversary of two congregations coming together in 1970 in a URC/Methodist partnership. On Saturday evening we arrived, slightly later than anticipated to join in the birthday tea and entertainment evening.
ATiC Morning Worship Service
On Sunday morning we joined in ATiC (All Together in Church) an exciting, monthly church service which isn't much like a traditional church service at all! Using PowerPoint, drama, a live band and plain language, ATiC services put a fresh spin on faith.
After I had preached Rev Roger Hides invited the congregation at St Andrews to reflect on their hopes for the future (see below) which I found very inspiring.
I wonder how would describe your hopes for the future of the church you attend?
OUR HOPES FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR CHURCH1. That we may have the courage to move forward – maybe to build a new Church; we pray that those who find this hard to accept, that they will give their support.
2. Let this church grow in numbers and in worship.
3. To be a welcoming meeting place for the local community of faith, love, acceptance, forgiveness, reconciliation.
4. That the issues relating to the Church building do not become more important than the spiritual life.
5. Pray for the youth to carry on the work in and out of the Church.
6. Continuation of friendship and prayer.
7. Bring together more people.
8. To continue with ATiC and similar worship styles, and also the work with children, youth and families.
9. Go forward in faith, hope and charity.
10. To continue in the strength of the lord.
11. Lots of new members.
12. For the next 40 years of St Andrew’s.
14. That there will be people to carry on the work.
15. My hope for the future of St Andrew’s is that we will always be a loving congregation, always looking to help, understand and love each other. May our door be ever open & may all who enter feel our love.
16. Community spirit.
17. To be bigger than this building.
18. To continue to encourage young people to St Andrew’s. They are our future.
19. That our Church will continue to grow and new ideas are accepted and encouraged, and eventually we are able to build a new premises fit for purpose with God’s help.
20. Pray that the young will receive all the encouragement they need to serve . that the elderly will not be forgotten but encouraged as well.
21. Mend the Church
22. That we shall fill the place!
23. Bring all ages of the Church closer together (young and old).
24. Look forward and enjoy another 40 years.
25. Talk to each other about our faith.
26. Help us to be a strong Church, so that we can branch out in all directions to reach others.
27. Stay positive and happy. Place of worship of God forever.
28. To stay a happy place with wonderful people.
29. To widen our horizons and spread the Word beyond these walls.
30. To be central to our local community; greater part of the wider Church.
31. Spiritual well-being; health and happiness for all our family.
32. Encouraging, full, youth work, vibrant, Spirit-led.
34. To have the strength and good future to create a new Church with vibrancy and youth that will capture the hearts of the community and grow and grow.
36. That we will take the good from the past and use it as the firm foundation from which to grow and develop.
37. For us to reach out to all people in Jesus’ name.
38. Continued involvement of young people and support in their faith.
39. Hope that St Andrew’s may reach out to the people of sedgley and beyond who may share in the love and care shown in this Church through the love of God.
40. Be part of the community as an inspiration to others. Love and help for the needy, work with youth for Christian fellowship.
41. God-centred people who share the Good News of God in this community.
42. To be forward thinking and not hold onto what we selfishly want, but what is best for all.
43. Guide us to choose the right way to move forward for this Church to become a means of spreading the Christian faith to the community.
44. That we become visible in this community and take brave steps in proclaiming God’s love for all people.
45. A strong presence in the community showing God’s love.
46. To be happy and united.
47. I pray that this Church will allow God’s Spirit to lead us and we will follow.
48. We must look to the future not look back.
49. To be a “beacon of light” in the community.
50. To be there in the future, for the young people of today to know the Lord.
51. Togetherness of all the people.
52. Altogether in hope, love, help, altogether.
53. To move and change under the guidance of God.
54. That our love for our neighbours will be practical, that our welcome will be sincere.
55. To continue to grow, and support the children and youth, and the needs of all ages.
56. To continue to grow as a family Church; to look after the young people.
57. That the young people will continue to keep this Church forever.
58. God’s peace, God’s challenge, God’s love.
59. I pray for the strength of service in God’s work for others.
60. New worship centre; guidance for what we should do for the best.
61. I pray that we will be able to stand out as a Church and be able to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
62. For the Spirit to lead and buildings to follow.
63. My hopes and prayers for St Andrew’s to still be here in Bilston Street in the next 40 years.
64. To be open to the needs of those around us & the wider world, & to respond to those needs.
65. Pray that the Church will continue to grow and become stronger, that more and more people will let God into their lives for the next 40 years and beyond.
66. We pray for the future of our Church and the young people.
67. To find God’s path.