St John’s, Dumfries mission action plan is in its second year (MAP2) and was endorsed at a Special General Meeting on 23 March, 2014.

MAP 2 is part of the Diocesan Growth Strategy. Its vision for 2014-2015 is to provide a wide variety of worship with meaningful engagement for all ages and stages; not comparing and contrasting and seeing one format as the future rather than the other, but valuing all. Variety is seen as good as it enables people to move between worship styles at different stages of life and faith.

The Action Plan is underpinned by St John’s values. They are:

  • Generosity of spirit, with giving time and talent; being filled with, and mirroring, God’s grace and love
  • Wideness of vision; inclusivity
  • Openness to/commitment to difference; acceptance of all
  • Having a serving heart
  • Being an ‘open church’ in every sense including being ‘open all ‘day’
  • Ability to listen
  • We are One Body, in both Word and Deed; and have a collaborative heart
  • Ecumenical in every sense
  • Willingness to/acceptance of change
  • Keen to offer opportunity to all

St John’s aims to build on the achievements of MAP1 and continue to develop:

  • Better interface with the community; including magazine and diary of events
  • Engagement with social media
  • Welcoming newcomers
  • Development of small groups

Our priorities for 2014/15 are:

  • To institute a re-ordering of the front part of the Church, to provide a more flexible worship space while still retaining the capacity to provide worship of a more traditional type
  • To build capacity in our staffing, by creating a number of part-time stipendiary posts, including:
  • Youth work, including school chaplaincies
  • Engagement with new constituencies
  • Property services
  • Communication, especially via social media
  • To serve the local and worldwide community in furthering values of justice and peace

The following are the achievements of MAP1 (2012/13):

  • Improvements in communication
  • Magazine, diary
  • Raising our profile in the community
  • Rebranding (‘A Church for Everyone’)
  • Website updated
  • Hospitality
  • Welcoming, incorporating newcomers
  • Social events
  • Small groups
  • Supporting First Base Agency’s Food Bank with lunches and fundraising
  • Nurture
  • Progress with small groups
  • Other things:
  • Bell project completed
  • John Bell presentations on managing change, involving other Dumfries churches
  • Work begun on ‘re-ordering’ – thinking about the way we use our building, and if, why and how it might be improved

What we learned:

  • Way to manage change is slowly; allowing time and space for discussion
  • Even more talent among members (e.g. 9.30 service) than had been thought
  • God’s providence (see Bell project)
  • Do what we’re gifted for; not just we think ought to be done
  • To incorporate new ways of being church

Stories from MAP1

The First Base Agency Food Project

  • Each year, at the end of the January there is a focus on Poverty and Homelessness Action Week
  • After a presentation during Sunday worship by Mark Frankland of the FBA in Dumfries, the Dumfries Food Bank Project caught the attention of the congregation leading to soup lunches to raise funds to buy ingredients for the food parcels and a system by which people could donate items on the recommended stock list
  • There is a significant increase in the need for food parcels, some would say because of benefit changes
  • We also engaged in the national debate stimulated by the Methodist Church’s leadership of the ‘Lies we tell’ campaign to address

St John’s Bell Project

  • Because of the availability of five redundant bells from Renfrewshire, the idea of completing the original intention of installing a set of bells began in 2007
  • It was achieved in 2013 through the generous providence of individuals and organisations who supported it financially through donation or grants. None of the regular church funds were used
  • Since the bells were installed, people of all ages have shown interest and attended training in bell ringing; many who are not ‘natural church-goers’.
  • Bell ringing is acknowledged to be an excellent activity for the promotion of exercise, co-ordination, cognitive processes, socialisation

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