Neil Harrison, Community Pastor Waringstown Presbyterian Church.
The Church Community Transformation process helped our congregation realise the huge potential we have to engage with the community on our doorsteps. My role changed to Community Pastor with the duty of developing fresh initiatives to help our church connect better with the local community.
Fresh initiatives have been developed to meet the needs identified by the CCT process around things like ‘a lack of opportunity for community’ and ‘isolation’. Some of the things we have developed have been a Community Newsletter called CONNECT that is distributed 3 times a year and covers all church activities as well as wider community groups. This alone has drawn new people into our Parent and Toddler Group.
We introduced a ‘Know Your Neighbour’ initiative that encouraged our church members to get to know their neighbours better in very practical and simple ways. We have launched ‘Messy Church’, a bi-monthly Sunday afternoon service for the whole family that is especially geared towards families with young children who otherwise might find it difficult to go to church. This has enabled us to connect with around 7 unchurched families.
In addition, we held a very successful series of outreach events around the Rugby World Cup that culminated in a relaxed, sports themed evening service attended by many people who would otherwise never attend church.
Prior to the CCT process we were a church that wanted to engage with our community but did not know where to begin.
“Thrive Ireland helped us to identify local needs and enabled us to harness the support and skill of the church family to begin responding to these needs.”