Heart of the Community Update August 2019

Much has changed since our last Heart of the Community Gift Day in May 2019.

We thought you would like to know what has happened, where gifts have been allocated, and how you can pray effectively for the future.

As a Church we are committed to…

– The completion of St Michael’s Centre

– The refurbishment of St Michael’s Church

– Upgrading the Old School Rooms

– Mission in the UK and beyond

One Church, One Vision

– Our vision is Living to make a difference by being a Christian heart at the
centre of the community.
– Our vision is realised by focusing on Discipleship, Outreach, and Serving our
– To make our vision happen, we hold 2 gift days a year. One in November to  support day-to-day ministry, and one in May to support our resources and
We want to update you on how resources are being deployed.

Our last two gift days enabled us to…

– Open a suite of offices upstairs in the Centre (£156k).
– Repay capital on loans, and interest on those loans (£281k).
– Refurbish Old School Rooms Kitchen (£25k).
– Pay £50k early ‘lump sum’ capital repayment on one of our loans to reduce our
monthly interest payments. (Gift Day 2019)
– Donate £100k towards mission initiatives.
– Complete the works in the auditorium, including the completion of the air
handling unit, upgrading the audio systems and progress investigations on tiered
seating (£45k).
Total committed spend to December 2020: £657k

God has spoken to us:
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains
wide, do not hold back, lengthen your cords, strengthen your
stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left”
Isaiah 54:2-3

What can I pray for?
How do I share what God may say?
Whether you are praying in your Life groups or individually, please pray forwisdom over the potential next steps.
– Developing the arches corridor, giving access to large meeting rooms,
storage and kitchen to support large events. This would cost an extra £550k.
– Repaying a more significant amount on our oustanding loans.
– Continuing to meet our mortgage obligations, and, if possible, repay some
loans early.
– The journey we have been on as a Church has been fuelled by prayer.
– If you have a clear sense of hearing God’s voice on some of the issues
above, please email your thoughts to admin@stmichaelsbristol.org.
– Our Core Leadership team (Si Jones, Tom Benyon, Julie Bradley, Ian Taylor,
Mike Watkivs) reviews any prophetic words at its weekly meetings.



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Getting to know…Andy


Over the past few years, our staff team has grown and changed. We want to help you get to know the St Michael’s team! So, in the second of our occassional series, we put some questions to St Michael’s Centre and Events Manager, Andy Mead.

 How long have you been a part of St Michael’s and what motivated you to come here?

I have been working here for just over 2 years having started on June 1 2017. I was at a bit of a crossroads career wise and wasn’t really sure what to do and the opportunity to apply to help out in St Michael’s Centre came up. A few people mentioned that I should apply for it and the rest, as they say, is history! I love the ethos of the place and it really feels that we are serving the community. It is important to me that we don’t just run St Michael’s Church Centre as a business, but that we take time to foster positive relationships with all who use the Centre and Old School Rooms and show them the vision of being a Christian heart at the centre of the Community in action.

 What is your current role at St Michael’s?

I am currently the Centre and Events Manager which encompasses a wide range of duties.  These include working with individuals and organisations to ensure they have the best experience when hiring and using our facilities. It also involves ensuring a balance between corporate, community and church activities at the centre.

 What do you enjoy most about it?

I love it when we have big events here: like the Stuart Townend concert or some of the big corporate conferences. It’s hard work but I love the buzz around the place when the events are on and the satisfaction of a job well done when they are finished. I also love the fact that we could have Beehive Toddler Group, Golden Oldies singing group  and an MOD conference going on at the same time – the centre really serving all aspects of the community. I have met a wide range of people whilst working here who I would never have had met had I not been working at St Michael’s, and that feels pretty special too.  I work with a great team of people here too which not only makes my job easier but also really enjoyable.

What’s been a highlight for you in the past year?

I think all the big events we had. The run of events last Autumn was great. It was a lot of hard work behind the scenes but hearing the enjoyment everyone got out of them made it all worth while.

 What do you do to relax?

I watch a lot of sport, football mainly. I enjoy doing that, although watching Bristol City isn’t always very relaxing! I have started running (slowly!) in the last year and after completing Couch to 5K I have run two 10Ks, including the Bristol 10k this year which really felt like a sense of achievement. 

 What’s your favourite bible verse or story, and why?

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. This verse has really helped me during difficult times and gave me strength and purpose when I felt I didn’t have any.

And lastly –we know you are not a cake fan, so what is your favourite snack food and why?                       

Chocolate and Haribo!! Especially the little Haribo Jelly Men!!

Be a Saturday Volunteer!

Are you looking to do something different with your Saturday morning? The Old School Rooms Coffee Shop Saturday volunteer team are looking for more people like you! If you’d like to do something a little bit different – just once every four or five weeks – then we would love to hear from you. It involves serving the local community and working (not too hard) with a great group of other volunteers. Training is given, It’s good fun, you learn a new skill and join a fun group of 100% volunteers that serve their community. Get in touch if you’d like to know more!

Some of our Saturday volunteers

Church of England Digital Charter

The Church of England have published a digital charter – a voluntary pledge to help make social media and the web more positive places.

As a church, St Michael’s has signed-up to this charter.

As part of a live Q&A at Facebook UK’s Headquarters, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, launched the digital charter and social media guidelines and encouraged Christians and others to sign up to it.

The charter is centred on the five principles of: truth, kindness, welcome, inspiration and togetherness, and the opportunity for people to sign-up to show they support the principles.

It is hoped that people of all faiths and none will use the charter to consider how their own online interactions can affect others, both for good and bad.

Archbishop Justin Welby said:

“Social media has transformed the way we live our lives. As Christians we are called to engage in a way which is shaped by the example of Jesus.

“As we respond to the call on each of us to be witnesses to Jesus Christ, I encourage all of us to consider how we live our lives as witnesses online. 

“Each time we interact online we have the opportunity either to add to currents of cynicism and abuse or to choose instead to share light and grace.

“My prayer is that through these guidelines and charter we can encourage regular and not-so-regular churchgoers, sceptics and those who are surprised to find themselves interested, to be open to think and experience more of the Christian faith.”

The charter and guidelines also have the backing of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who said:

“While there is a time and a place for complaint and criticism, too often today this takes place not to encourage improvement but to vilify an individual or group. Sometimes it’s about counting to 10 and asking whether a spiteful statement on social media will change a situation for the better.

“Today, we are saying that the Church wishes to be present in the digital sphere, and the same force for social cohesion which it strives to be in the real world, and we want to work alongside social media companies in their work to make social media a safe and enlightening space for all.”

Getting to know….

Over the past few years, our staff team has grown and changed. We want to help you get to know the St Michael’s team! So, in the first of an occassional series, we put some questions to our new Associate Vicar, Tom Benyon.

 What motivated you to come to St Michael’s?

Ever since training at Trinity College, Bristol we have felt called to the West Country and specifically Bristol, so when a friend of mine drew my attention to the post I was very interested. I had not visited St Michael’s before but had heard about it spoken of in lots of positive ways. Sara and I visited the 10.30am service ‘under the radar’ in Autumn 2018 and loved it, so it felt very natural to apply for the job. We really loved the vision of the church – to be a Christian heart at the centre of the community – and felt excited at the prospect of being in a church that is both committed to the transformation of its local area, but also with a vision to impact the wider community, Bristol and beyond.

What have been your first impressions?

The centre is obviously an amazing resource and there are clearly many things going on throughout the church, but what has struck us the most has been the warmth and kindness of everyone who has welcomed us. So, thank you for this.  A lot of people have expressed just how much they love this church community- which to my mind is always a good sign!

 What are you most looking forward to you in your ministry here?

I’m looking forward to working closely with the team, getting to know as many people as possible and generally getting ‘plugged in’. I am especially passionate about prayer and whole-life discipleship and how we can learn together to become more Christ-like. To that end, I’m particularly looking forward to working with life groups amongst other things.  

What do you do to relax?

I love hanging out with the family, going on bike rides, watching sport (rugby, tennis, football) and reading novels to my boys. Sara and I love going to see live music and theatre when we can. I’m a bit of an introvert and I like nothing better than hiking across countryside with Lottie the dog for company. 

I hear you have a bit of an am-drammer in you! What’s your favourite part that you’ve played?

Believe it or not I played King Lear at university – it took me ages to learn the lines. It was a pretty earnest, student production (I was 19 trying to play an 80-year-old!) but I think we did okay. More recently I have been directing plays rather than acting in them. I was especially proud of a Romeo and Juliet set on a housing estate and a production of Death of a Salesman, with Richard (Dickie) Attenborough’s grandson in the lead role. I have missed the drama side of things since moving into ordained ministry – perhaps new opportunities in Bristol may emerge.

What’s your favourite bible verse or story, and why?

‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit’. Romans 15:13

I love the exuberance of this prayer from Paul, with its focus on hope and trust in God. I want to ‘overflow with hope’!

And lastly – important information for anyone in church- what’s your favourite cake?

As someone who loves cake but now is ‘gluten-free’ that is a painful question! Quite a number of gluten-free cake options may taste okay but they have the consistency of wet sand. That said, Sara’s chocolate and coconut torte is just about perfect.

Church on the Green 2019

Each summer we hold an outdoor church celebration.  It’s an event for the whole community of Stoke Gifford, and a great chance for everyone to worship together as a whole church family at the heart of the community.

This year we’re expanding the fun into the afternoon as well!

Everyone is welcome. It all starts at 11.00am on Sunday 23 June, and takes place on The Green, Stoke Gifford.  

After the celebration the fun will continue!

11am – 12pm Church on the Green.   
Simon will be leading the service and Tom Benyon will be speaking. 
The theme this year is Let your Light Shine!

12pm Lunchtime! Bring your own, or buy a burger or hot dog from the barbecue!

12.30pm Games available on the Green.

1.30pm Choose from:  a Walk, Film in the Auditorium, Board Games or Football.

3.30pm Cream Tea is served!

 Evening Celebration

It’s a great chance for us all to be together for fun and fellowship, and don’t worry if you are coming by yourself, there will be people to welcome you!

If the weather is bad we will still go ahead – we are working on a wet weather plan.

And if the weather is good – don’t forget your sunscreen!

For this week only, Church on the Green will replace the 9am and 10.30 services.

Paper copies of the service order will be available, or you can download a copy here

Tom Benyon Licensed as Associate Vicar

In a private service today, Tom Benyon was formally licensed as Associate Vicar at St Michael’s by Bishop Viv, Bishop of Bristol.

We are delighted to welcome Tom and family to St Michael’s!

Tom will be working alongside the existing leadership team. And we’ll be celebrating as a church at the 6.30pm Celebration this coming Sunday 9 June, when Tom will also be commissioned by Bishop Lee, Bishop of Swindon.