On Friday 29 and Saturday 30 October, around 30 volunteers gave their time and talent to working on the building at the Pre-school and Nursery. Altogether around 180 hours were volunteered!
One of the things I think we have all had to learn to do during these last challenging 18 months is to hold onto things lightly. Whether it’s been the opportunity to see family and friends, join together in much-loved activities, go away on holiday or whatever else, I’m sure we will all have had disappointments along the way that we have had to face and try to move beyond.
Last month we were able to welcome our little granddaughter Robyn-Jane, born in July last year just as we were coming out of the first lockdown, into our home for the first time. We were absolutely thrilled that we got to witness her first independent steps whilst she was with us. But at the end of the weekend, she developed a cough and tested positive for Covid. Thankfully she was fine, but of course we all had to self-isolate for 10 days, which meant we missed the first 5 days of our long-awaited holiday. Such is the roller-coaster ride that we have all been riding through Covid…! I know that I have certainly learned some valuable lessons around holding things lightly – and also around seeing God at work in some surprising and beautiful ways in the midst of the tough stuff that’s going on.
And whilst it’s true to say that we have had to learn to hold things lightly, alongside that many of us will have perhaps learned something about who, and what, we can hold onto tightly – and that is, of course, Jesus and the hope we have in him. Jesus, who rides the roller coaster ride with us; Jesus the one who is always with us, always faithful.
One of the highlights of my summer has been the discovery of ‘The Chosen’, a beautiful dramatization of Jesus’ life, which can be found on YouTube or downloaded as an App.
In it the characters and stories we read about in the gospels are brought to life in such an imaginative, yet completely believable, way. There are two seasons currently released, with a third in the making. I really commend it to you; it’s made a deep impression on me.
Another joy the summer has brought has been the opportunity to sing together when we gather to worship on Sundays – that’s certainly something I have really missed through these Covid months! All our Sunday services and celebrations are back meeting in person – the weekly 9am and monthly 5pm services in church, and the weekly 10.30 and 6.30 celebrations in the centre. As of now, there is no longer any need to book your place – just come along; it would be wonderful to see you. (Please note that face coverings are still expected and recommended to be worn). And in the coming weeks we hope to be able to see more and more of our ‘normal’ church activities starting up again; we’ll keep you posted! In the meantime, let me leave you with these words from Hebrews 10v23:
‘Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful’.
May God bless you and keep you in His love and care.
A message from Tom Benyon
Greetings from St Michael’s Church! I trust that you are well under these strange circumstances.
We all love a good story, don’t we? I read my sons a bedtime story every night before they go to bed, and it’s often one of the highlights of the day. Stories are part and parcel of our lives: we tell, read, and watch stories all day long, and some of us even dream in stories as well. Someone once said that we tell stories to help us make sense of the world, and I’m sure they were right.
You will have seen the disturbing stories of racial injustice and heartache in the news and it has been hard to make sense of it all. With this and the pandemic as a backdrop it is easy to lose sight of God’s goodness. But we mustn’t. As Christians we are part of a wider story of hope where, through Christ, God is making all things new. This means we can see stories of hope even in the hardest of situations. I wonder whether you have stories like this to draw on? I hope so.
Recently we have encouraged church family members to send in brief videos of them telling some of these stories, moments of hope and encouragement where they have seen God at work. We have called these ‘Ten Second Testimonies’, and yes, they only have 10 seconds in which to communicate it! It has been a good exercise for us all. Not only has it been encouraging to hear these little moments of hope from folk across the church family, but it has also been good to spot those occasions in our own day where we notice God at work. This may be the small act of kindness from a neighbour, the ‘accidental’ meeting of someone on the way to the shops or the simple pleasure of seeing sunshine dappled through the trees. Each story, however insignificant, is a gentle reminder that He is at work, making all things new.
My prayer is that you will be able to see these moments for what they are, small stories of hope, and ones you may want to tell someone about them. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be in just 10 seconds!
I am so looking forward to the time when we can see each other again face to face but in the meantime do take care and please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
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
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”
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
– 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Our Core Leadership team (Si Jones, Tom Benyon, Julie Bradley, Ian Taylor,
Mike Watkivs) reviews any prophetic words at its weekly meetings.
Welcome to the new-look St Michael’s Church website
You are one of the first people to visit the new-look church website. We’ve spent over a year working on this design – which should make everything more accessible, particularly for those who use smartphones and tablets.
As with all updates – it will take us a little while to get used to the changes. We will all need to be a little patient as the new design settles in. Thank you for your understanding and care.
Hopefully everything you need can be found by clicking one of the 5 coloured menu buttons at the top of every page. Or you could try using the search button to find what you’re looking for. If you get stuck, please accept our apologies – we are continuing to make corrections and improvements all the time.
If there’s anything you particularly like, or dislike about the new layout and navigation – we’d love to hear from you. Similarly, if anything appears to be not working, do let us know.
Please contact us with any comment using the feedback form below.
Between us we’ll work to make the website clear, accessible, welcoming and informative for as many people as possible.
Advantages of the new website design
The underlying principle of the update to the website is to get more of the right communications, to more people, in more ways.
In the last year we have had 14,000 visitors to our website with 60% of visitors accessing the website from a mobile phone or tablet.
Responsive layout design. A major feature of the updated website is that the design is now fully responsive and will optimise the website layout to the size of the screen you are viewing it on. Making content more readable, especially on mobile phones.
Responsive text size. The website now fully responds to browsers that have adjusted the font size setting, so if you like your font size a little larger (or smaller) the website now obliges on all pages.
Menu structure. The menus have been simplified and consolidated to the top bar of the website with 5 coloured menu buttons. You will find everything you need from one of these 5 menus. The menu structure also responds to the size of the screen you are viewing it on and optimises the experience.
It’s fast. The updated website uses the very latest website scripting standards which are claimed to be 30% faster than the predecessor. So you will benefit as a visitor with faster web page load times, which means you get to see the information you came to find quicker.
Maintenance. The updated website has been built with flexibility in mind, to allow the structure of menus, headers and footers to all be updated from the admin panel without having to be web scripting ninja. You will notice that some things (e.g. church services) appear on more than one menu. This is not a mistake and is intentional to help visitors find things and it just highlights the flexibility we have with the new menu structure.
Home page. The front home page has a “priority 9” grid for the most important current communications headlines and links. This is easy to change and adapt to make the home page more dynamic and more effective in communicating key messages.
ChurchSuite. All of the events for the church that are created in ChurchSuite are now automatically imported into the website, to allow the latest events to be shown dynamically in web pages. Check out the Rhythms of Grace page under the ‘When’ section, where you can see the dates for the next events. This no longer has to be manually entered and is automatically pulled through from ChurchSuite and displayed.
The site is more secure. The updated website has been built with security in mind. Using the very latest web scripting standards, which have security at the core, combined with back-end security measures to ensure that our databases and files remain safe. This has been combined with SSL/ HTTPS encryption for the entire site so your interaction with the site is secure. Check out your address bar for the padlock sign.
Backups. The updated website has a robust backup approach to ensure that should something go wrong then the site can be up and running again with minimal downtime.
Removal of personal data. No emails or personal details are stored on website, with all correspondence now managed through contact forms. Rotas have also now been removed from the website and all rotas should now be accessed via login to ChurchSuite or through email.
It was free!
One of the best things about the updated site is that it has not cost the church anything! It has been developed entirely in-house by an enthusiastic bunch of volunteers who have a heart for communicating the good news of God’s work at St Michael’s to everyone who visits this site.
Thank you for reading and don’t forget to send us any feedback using the form above.
St Michael’s Web Team