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An Easy English Congregation

Ministers' letters, Ministries, People

 

Friends,

Last Sunday was Vision Sunday at St Michael’s. We heard our vision and some of the exciting plans for 2017. This includes an Easy English Congregation, onsite, on late Sunday mornings.

An Easy English Congregation is an exciting and significant next step for the ministry of the word and prayer at St Michael’s, continuing the good work God is already doing. But with change comes questions.

We the leadership team of an Easy English Congregation (EEC) have formulated a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). I want to share just a few of these now with more to follow soon. I hope it helps inform and shape your prayers towards our vision.

1.   Why should we have an Easy English Congregation (EEC)?

The idea of an EEC at St Michael’s has been around for some years. Increasingly we are seeing more people from other nations being involved in our existing services and our EFL classes are well attended. Over the past year or so, the growth in the 10 am service has been particularly the result of more international people attending. The Cathedral during that service is really quite full now. God is saving people from all cultures and religions and we have a great opportunity to be part of His plan in helping this happen. Importantly, an ongoing strong Anglo-Australian membership of the congregation will be key to developing disciples and future ministry training for service in the broader community.

2. What will be different about the format of an EEC?

A different type of ministry will be required to target likely high turnover, and language/cultural and religious background diversity. One clear message we are getting is that the current services can be quite difficult to follow for non-English background people. The EEC service will therefore be adapted to suit (e.g. slow speaking, clear explanations re aspects of the service, written sermon available, etc). We expect a more highly fluid congregation numbers/ attendance at this service because of the high numbers of students, refugees and migrants and there will likely be a greater need for one-to-one gospel sharing/teaching.

3.   What will be the impact on other congregations?

If the start time is decided to be earlier than 11:30 am, there will be some impact on the service times of the earlier services. There will be an obvious loss of current members from congregations and possibly home growth groups to make up the starting group for the EEC. However, that will provide opportunities for further numbers growth (particularly at 10am) and development in ministry skills of those who remain in the current congregations. For example, it is not the intention to strip all services of current members of International background, so some who remain may see an opportunity to focus their efforts on how best to serve those from other nations who continue to attend the existing services.

I preached from Ephesians 4 last week on the urgency for Christians to keep the unity of the Spirit that is ours now in Christ and the end of all things under Christ. So amidst the change of 2017, let’s indeed strive to keep this unity.

Yours In Christ,

Jon Baird

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