Our church in Newport-on-Tay is St Mary’s. It looks out over the Tay estuary and has a great view of the Tay Railway Bridge. Today we had a boat in the back of the church – and nets – and lots of paper fish as we launched the congregation’s Mission Action Plan.
People think …. well people think lots of things. They think that this is about ‘wearing the tee-shirt and singing the song’ Sometimes they think that it is about some great formula which is handed down from the Diocesan Office. If only … if only our congregations were as conformist as that!
St Mary’s is a remarkable place. The congregation has had all sorts of problems. But there is a persistent sense of the numinous about their church. I forget – but every time I go back there, it strikes me. They have concerns about the future – about the difficulty of finding clergy in the future – about ….. What is different now – and we are talking transformation – is that the congregation has worked out a statement of what its future in mission and ministry is. They were supported by Canon Val Nellist and Elaine Cromwell who acted as facilitators. They had a group which worked very hard alongside their Rector, Denise Herbert. This is all about discipleship and vocation – and everything else follows from that.
I hope they feel that they have reached a new stage. I was with them this morning for the launch and dedication – and this is what I said