Have you heard about the Neighbourhood Network of Care Scheme run at St Mary’s? The scheme was set up as one of the responses to the Parish Questionnaire which went out to all church members and attenders two or three years ago. It was designed to get feedback on what sort of activities the parishioners wanted and how the parish should move forward.
One clearly expressed wish was for more opportunities to meet and get to know other people who worship at St Mary’s, and find a way to enable newcomers to get to know people. A meeting was called for all those interested in helping find ways of responding to this wish, and to enable the parish community to express fellowship and support each other in need. So the Neighbourhood Network of Care Scheme was born!
People who had responded to the questionnaire were divided up, more or less geographically within the town, into groups living close to each other, and a volunteer co-ordinator received the list of names in his/her group. A co-ordinator’s task is to be a focal point for a group, to share information with them about parish activities and help group members get to know each other. An initial step for some co-ordinators was to invite their group around for tea or coffee, with new friendships and mutual support the natural results. It was helpful for the groups to learn about the various ways in which the parish can offer support, including lifts to church, sick-visiting, and arranging for Holy Communion at home for the housebound.
The scheme has been working now for a couple of years and is still evolving. If you are new to St Mary’s and would like to be part of a group, just pick up a questionnaire from the back of the church, complete it and hand it to a churchwarden. We would welcome any ideas on how the scheme might become more effective. It is very much part of our church’s dedication to being a friendly, welcoming haven for all-comers. As the parish statement states: We are here for the glory of God; to be the body of Christ, broken and restored to reflect the Gospel in our lives.
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