SHIPLEY BAPTIST CHURCH “The church at the centre” WEEKEND “AT HOME”

Our Church Weekend at Home this year took place on the 21-23 JUNE 2019. The topic was ‘A CHURCH FOR ALL: inclusivity in the community of Christ’.

Our Keynote Speaker was The Revd Dr Lina Toth (Assistant Principal, Scottish Baptist College)

Thirty eight adults and fifteen children participated in all, or part,of our Church Weekend at home.

On Friday night we gathered in the early evening to enjoy curry and pizza, which was a great time for folks getting together. Younger members of our church community then joined Adam, our youth worker and Julie, from Zephaniah trust, in a pyjama party. Meanwhile, others heard a talk by our friend, Lina (the Revd Dr Lina Toth, assistant Principal of the Scottish Baptist College) who opened up to us the theme of inclusivity in the life of the church, challenging us to look at our language and behaviour which might dissuade people from gathering within us and experiencing the love of Christ through our church community.

Saturday morning saw us busily engaged in workshops out of which we produced a lovely piece of artwork featuring models of hands in the church painted in a multi-coloured fashion to illustrate inclusivity and formed in a circle around a Celtic cross and a heart.We looked at wellbeing in the church, loving our neighbours, singleness in the life of the church community and exploring issues of inclusivity and gender. We have offered several thoughts, prayers and ideas into the wider church for reflection. These include –

  • Explore starting a “just looking” course
  • Encouraging and building on inter-faith relationships
  • How do we go forward beyond the initial welcome on a Sunday?
  • Explore inviting another service to work with our “garden community”. What other services exist who could help us?
  • Have a plan for how we can include and accept those who we connect with from Inn Churches, Food Bank, Dent centre, Job Club and expect that people will come – we need to be ready.
  • More relaxed social/midweek activities that are easy to invite people to come to.
  • Encourage congregation to invite people for meals
  • How do we build a community that single people are comfortable with?*
  • How do we build a male community that is free from toxic masculinity?*
  • Re-establish/publicise house groups.
  • Teaching series on Corinthians 7: marriage and singleness – definitely from view of non-nuclear norm.
  • To accept that all are different and not to be critical of those not like us.
  • To explore how the youth can be more included in church services.
  • To explore how we can welcome those who identify as LGBT (through open discussion in a church meeting, then reflection by Diaconate?)
  • Obey God’s command that we love God with all our hearts and minds and love one another. What does this mean? Preach the good news, encourage one another and instill a love that is of God.
  • Explore how we can make our church meeting more inclusive and something that people want to attend.
  • How do we reach out to the Parents and Toddlers group?
  • Our church needs a clearer vision statement and plan.
  • The afternoon saw us enjoying a relaxed time of games and fun in Northcli1e Park and we returned to a superb BBQ and campfire in the church car park with plenty of joy and laughter and, inevitably, a concluding water fight!
  • Sunday morning saw our worship including times of testimony and reflections on the weekend all of which was rounded in a bring and share lunch. Our thanks go to Lina, Adam and Julie for joining us and helping us. We were glad to have Lina’s husband, George, with us and, as always, lots of people made the weekend go swimmingly by preparing, ordering, setting up, cooking, planning, washing up and doing countless other necessary tasks !