Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More new churches than Starbucks stores!

We heard recently that new research - due to be released at the upcoming Mission 21 conference on church planting - will reveal that more new churches are opening in the UK than the popular Starbucks coffee stores. These new research figures clearly undermine the often-cited view that the church is a dying institution with no relevance to modern society.

While 481 UK Starbucks branches have opened since 1998, more than 500 churches started up during the same period. This figure is based on only 18 of the more than 400 denominations in the UK, so many more churches may actually have opened.

"This is exciting news for the UK church!" the new Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has said, commenting on the implications of this research. "It seems that everywhere I look today there is a new Starbucks full of people. It is great to think that the same thing is happening with churches. Jesus has so much more to offer to people's lives than just a caffeine buzz!"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dates for your Diary Spring 2006

There was a meeting of the Parochial Church Council in Flecknoe last night and it was decided that services at St. Mark’s should remain as they are for the moment - Family Service on the 1st Sunday and Holy Communion on the 3rd Sunday of every month. There will be further discussion on the future of the benefice at a meeting next month organised by the Archdeacon.

Other matters under discussion included our annual Spring Teas event - to be held this year on Sunday June 11th between 3 and 5pm - and a weekday Bring & Buy Coffee Morning in late March, details to be confirmed soon.

Andrew Grant would also like to remind people across the benefice that the ecumenical Lent group meetings will be starting again in late February, discussing various topics inspired by the current series of short programmes on Radio 4 entitled Who Killed Christianity?’ Meetings are likely to start at 7.30pm, with dates for your diary as follows:

28th February: The Almshouses, Leamington Hastings
7th March: Methodist Chapel, Broadwell
13th March: Methodist Chapel, Grandborough
21st March: Hillcrest House, Flecknoe
27th March: Willoughby Vicarage

Finally, just a reminder that our next service at St. Mark’s Flecknoe will be held on Sunday February 5th at 10.30am. That will a Family Service and everyone is most welcome to join us.

If you do come along to see us, or drop in to visit the church over the next few weeks, you’ll find a new Church of England publication on display at St. Mark’s, the Fresh Expressions newsletter, which is all about new contemporary ways of ‘being church’ and worshipping in the modern world.

Well worth reading, the Fresh Expressions newsletter contains lively articles on ‘cell churches’ (the growing trend for home prayer and worship groups), ‘skateboarding and spirituality’ (Legacy XS is a new purpose-built indoor skate park at a Christian youth centre) and ‘i-church’ (an Anglican Internet Community based on Benedictine principles).

To find out more about these fresh new ways of ‘being church’, you can visit the Fresh Expressions website by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Holy Communion 9am this Sunday

Our first Holy Communion of the New Year will be held this Sunday 15th January at St. Mark's Church, Flecknoe, at the usual time of 9am. We would be delighted to see you there.

2006 could be an exciting year for St. Mark's, with the possibility of far-reaching changes in the traditional structure of our benefice and some new faces presiding over our Sunday services. We should hear soon from the Rev'd Elizabeth Dyke at Dunchurch who has agreed to enter into discussion with Flecknoe PCC about the future of St. Mark's now that we are to lose Rev'd Bill Griffiths as well as our retired vicar Rev'd Beth Smith.

We hope you will join with us in praying for guidance at this time of inevitable change, for both congregation and clergy, and also for renewed patience and spiritual confidence as we come to terms with these changes and fit them into our everyday lives as Christians.