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Having read and heard on tv about your recent problem with the traveling community, I think a grassy mound around the ground would look great, it would be good to sit on and view matches,lay and read and could be enhanced with wild flowers, with an entrance gate in an awkward position so only grounds people can access the facilities and competitors.

Yours sincerely 

P Washbourne

This blog from local sports therapist Natalie Harman offers a few tips for tennis players

http://sportscorrectivetherapy.co.uk/reduce-common-tennis-injuries/

This blog from local sports therapist Natalie Harman offers a few tips for golfers;

http://sportscorrectivetherapy.co.uk/core-stability-exercises-golfers/

Rev Simon Taylor became the Parish Priest at St Andrews in December 2015. This blog sets out how he is addressing some of the challenges.


There are huge strengths here, testimony to the church having been well run over many years. Numbers attending are pretty good and the buildings are in good shape. The worship is orderly and the music uplifting. There are home groups and pastoral care. There are active and willing volunteers. There are some good community links. All in all, a positive picture. 

But that is not to say that all is rosy. We all know the gaps because they are visible every Sunday: there are many fewer children and young people than we would like to see, very few young adults, and many more women than men. The number of newcomers to our church family – that is people who have become regulars - is very low indeed. The gentle drift in our congregation seems to be out not in. 

The demographics and the trends paint a slightly ominous picture. It follows that we have a choice. We could just carry on entirely as we are. Or we can resolve to do everything in our power to work against the trends of the past and do all we can to spread the good news of our Saviour Jesus Christ widely in Stapleford. The issue is as to what that means in practice.  

I have in mind three principles to guide us as we go forwards. The principles are that we need to honour the past, navigate change and build for the future. 

Honouring the past means understanding where we have come from and maintaining and continuing the core identity of the Church. St Andrew’s main Sunday act of worship is traditional central Anglican in character, and it is liturgical and Eucharistic. We have a strong musical tradition and our main act of worship is led by a robed choir. These things are important to those who have been at the centre of St Andrew’s for these past many years, and will remain the routine way we do things at the main Sunday morning service. 

You will already have noticed slight adjustments in the liturgy and in the balance of music between old and new. I know that for a few even these modest changes are disturbing, but they are necessary if we are to build the church up, and there may be more such tinkering. 

My second principle is that of navigating change. I am conscious that I have already changed the style of much of the preaching to the more expository style beloved of evangelicals. 

That change in preaching style, is very much afoot. Another substantial change which we need to consider is what to do on Sunday evenings. Our Sunday offering taken as a whole is very traditional, and does not really reach out to those who are unchurched, that is, those with no direct Christian or church experience. Indeed, we need to acknowledge the reality that for those without church experience our traditional offering may actually be off-putting. 

Although those services are well-liked by those who come to them, they are generally poorly attended. That applies to both our evensongs and our evening communions. And when we have a Sunday evening communion, the reality is that the numbers who want to take communion are miniscule. 
We need to pay more attention to our mission to children and young people. Families have been voting with their feet. Many existing Christian families in Stapleford choose not worship with us, and, partly as a consequence of the loss of vitality that has resulted from that, we are not reaching families who have not yet heard the good news of Christ. 

There is a whole spectrum of possible out of church gospel work with families, children and young people that churches undertake. We need to take our pick and start some, starting small. 

The third principle is that we must build for the future. Although St Andrew’s is a church blessed with many people with great gifts there has been significant reliance, over-reliance even, on a small and very committed group administering the affairs of the church and its day to day practicalities. 

Another aspect of building for the future is more fundamental, and it is to do with building our spiritual, rather than our practical, capacity. 

I see the main such tasks as preaching and teaching from the bible, leading services, leading prayers both in services and informally, planning worship, and pastoral visiting and praying for others in pastoral contexts. We need to develop more capacity in all these areas. If we don’t, our lack of capacity will inhibit our growth and we will be unable to disciple enquirers and fulfil our mission to Stapleford.

 

Dr Simon Taylor

Read the full Parish Priest’s report 2016 here: