Our church and its congregation began looking at different ways to worship in 2014 with the aid of a small research grant from Go For It. In this the 3rd year of our journey, the members of our congregation who run Christian Clubs in two of our local schools – the SUPA Club in Springholm and the Scripture Union Club at Crossmichael, have joined forces and are making preparations to host a summer Holiday Club for local children of Primary School age [5 – 11] using resources from the Scripture Union to engage with youngsters in the various activities which form part of their programme “Wastewatchers”. The programme works through a series of various activities aimed at exploring the work of God’s creation and how we should be looking after it. These include storytelling, creative Bible engagement, craft and game activities and relationship building opportunities. This effort is the latest example of our continuing commitment to explore new ways to worship even though our small research project has long since been completed.
Our journey has taken us to many different destinations. Along the way we have enjoyed a day of family canoeing rounded off with an evening’s “Songs of Praise”.
Our young folk have re-enacted scenes from the Crucifixion story in different village locations. Our congregation has used “pedal power” to keep the church lights on during our Christmas “Nine Lessons & Carols” service. Our worship team have built and then demolished a wall representing “division” in the world during our service in the Week for Christian Unity. Since 2014, recording of church services for those unable to attend has become the norm. One of our major concerns, that changing the style and nature of our worship would not be welcomed by all, has never materialised. The greater opportunity for participation in our services by members of the congregation is well supported.
What at first seemed a daunting prospect of having to deliver part of our service as a member of the newly formed worship team is now looked upon with relish.
It has been remarked that the diversity of content, different approach and the style of delivery all add to a greater feeling of fellowship within the congregation. Our minister too has benefitted since some of her load is now shared with others.
Of course, the challenges that we faced in 2014 as a small rural community still exist and finding ways to engage with our local community and encourage even greater use of our church buildings is an ever present target on our horizon. Such challenges will not change in the forseeable future. However, what has changed is our attitude towards these challenges and our approach to dealing with them and this is what makes us feel confident in going forward of maintaining a strong, visible, Christian presence in our community.
New Ways to the Future Project
Crossmichael and Parton Churches, Castle Douglas
About New Ways to the Future Project
New Ways to the Future is an initiative of Crossmichael and Parton Churches. The project used a Go For It Grant to research alternative ways of worship, and the potential for developing closer relationships in a rural community, in order to respond to identified needs.
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