Chapel Reviews

During Autumn 2013, Rev Sue attended a series of meeting in chapels through the circuit.  The purpose of the meetings was to draw to the attention of the chapel members the Circuit Mission Policy which had been agreed at the Spring 2013 circuit meeting, and the challenges therein.  The challenges to the chapels were:-

·  to review and extend their discipleship programmes

·  to review and improve their stewardship

·  to review and increase their mission and outreach

Some chapels had already started responding to the challenges of the mission policy and these efforts are included in the summary below.  Pre-existing activities are not included. The meetings were about extending, improving and increasing, and met with varying degrees of success.   A summary follows.

 

Newtown

·  to review and extend their discipleship programmes

Had already extended their discipleship programme with a fortnightly Bible Reading Fellowship.  This is attended by between 4 and 9 people.  A book of the Bible is worked through from start to finish over a period of weeks, with attendees taking turns to read if they wish.  Discussion follows on what impressed them from the reading and what it can tell us about the Bible in today's world.  The group have read John, Mark, Matthew and Romans.

A new group meeting was proposed for general discussion of current events.  This group meets monthly in a member's home.  The challenge is not only to share our own opinions, but to extend this to consider what the Gospel response might be: the "what would Jesus do?" question.  This is more challenging, but important.  This group is attended by up to 10 people.

·  to review and improve their stewardship

The chapel was anticipating the completion of building work to improve the kitchen, disabled toilet and vestry facilities.  It is felt that this would make the building more useful to outside groups.  The building is already well-used by hiring groups.

·  to review and increase their mission and outreach

This aspect met with a variety of responses.  Some people were keen to make more links with the community, particularly making use of the improved facilities.  Others expressed frustration that they were expected to do even more than they did already.  It was explained that no-one was obliged to take part in any activity if they didn't want to. Decisions as so what mission and outreach could be done depended on having sufficient people who WANTED to take part.  A small group of determined and willing people could have success but they mustn't be held back by those who don't want to be involved.

A regular (monthly) fellowship lunch was suggested, and after service lunches, but it was felt that these ideas would be revisited after the building work was completed.

 

Cefn

·  to review and extend their discipleship programmes

Those present were keen to start a Bible-based fellowship group which could encourage them, with a particular emphasis on understanding particular Bible passages from different viewpoints and in order to help the application to life and family.  This group meets monthly at a member's home and can have 5 attendees.  The first series of meetings has looked at: the 10 lepers, the Good Samaritan, the prodigal son, the storm miracles, the resurrection & the vineyard workers.  During the summer when Cefn services move to a Thursday evening, the meetings are being incorporated into worship.  This has provided an interesting slant on worship with more detailed consideration of the reading with discussion.

Cefn also has a monthly 'Breakfast Church' with tea and toast followed by a family-friendly service.

·  to review and improve their stewardship

Cefn continue to be hopeful that the building work will soon begin, though finances are proving hard to come by. 

·  to review and increase their mission and outreach

Once the work has been completed it is expected that use of the facilities will increase by local groups, chapel fellowship groups and community events such as 'meet your neighbour' and coffee mornings.

Llanidloes

The meeting began with discussion of the circumstances of Llanidloes come September 2014 by which time Rev Chris will have left.  The members were encouraged to recognise that many things that traditionally have been undertaken by a minister can be well done by lay people.  Rev Sue made a commitment to help the chapel find new ways of continuing existing activities.  The meeting went on to consider the matter of the review and it was a most encouraging discussion.  There is a core of eager and willing people.

·  to review and extend their discipleship programmes

It was felt that the existing Bible Study group should continue with lay people being helped to share in leadership.  There was interest expressed in having more shared services with other chapels in the circuit.

·  to review and improve their stewardship

There was concern expressed that maintenance of the large building was proving difficult.  Since that meeting a quinquennial had been done and the chapel were making inroads into the considerable work required.  The building is well-used by community groups.  Discussion took place as to how the chapel members could improve the pastoral care offered in the light of staff changes from Sept 2014.

·  to review and increase their mission and outreach

This met with enthusiasm, with individuals expressing a desire to pursue areas of activity.  With regard to families, the attendees thought they would like consider running some form of after-school messy church along with regular family services. 

It was also felt important that members make more effort to follow-up casual contacts made through funerals, baptisms etc.  It was suggested that it might be possible for the Wesley Singers to do an occasional service using music, readings, hymn, prayers and other forms.

Caersws

The meeting took place as a part of the chapel council.

·  to review and extend their discipleship programmes.

  It was not felt by the attendees that any extension to the existing discipleship programme was required.

·  to review and improve their stewardship

There was a desire expressed to upgrade the kitchen and toilet facilities.  This has now been done, to good effect.  Further discussion is now required to maximise the utility of this improved facility.

·  to review and increase their mission and outreach

No ideas were forthcoming, pending the upgrade.  I suggest a further meeting now should be held, outside chapel council, for anyone interested in pursuing the mission and outreach of the chapel.

 

Trefeglwys / Llawr y Glyn

The two chapels continued their commitment to each other by meeting together for the chapel review. 

·  to review and extend their discipleship programmes

It was felt that some form of Bible-based fellowship would be welcome though no decision was reached as to what form this would take or when and where it would be held. A further discussion is required.

·  to review and improve their stewardship

It was felt that both chapels take good care of their buildings but more is required to make the best use of them.  Interesting discussion took place with no firm conclusion at this stage.

·  to review and increase their mission and outreach

It was felt that outside the chapel there is a view that we are only after money.  Coffee mornings are seen as fundraising activities but they should be used more to reach out to the community in fellowship.  Some efforts to this end had already been made but this is a community link which is to be further explored.

Trefeglwys members expressed a view that they would like to open their building in the week for people to come in to have solitude, peace and to be helped to pray or engage with the Bible.  This needs more thought but is to be pursued.  Insurance implications have been explored and are negligible.

Pentre Llifior

·  to review and extend their discipleship programmes

It was decided to start a weekly Bible fellowship.  However, this has now become a fortnightly Bible fellowship alternating with a social evening, so weekly meetings still take place

·  to review and improve their stewardship

It was not felt appropriate at this stage to expand existing stewardship programme

·  to review and increase their mission and outreach

the fortnightly social activity is seen as a way of linking with those outside the church and building up trust.

activities already started would continue: bacon buddies, visitor programme etc

 

Welshpool

·  to review and extend their discipleship programmes

In addition to existing discipleship activities it was proposed to resume the Bible Reading Fellowship.  In addition a 'focus' group would provide opportunity for discussion in two forms Film Focus and Faith Focus, the latter to be for explorers and unorthodox thinkers!  An Alpha course was considered.  Also a lunch-time opportunity for quiet reflection and prayer would begin following completion of the Gallery room.

·  to review and improve their stewardship

It was felt that good use is made of the buildings and the refurbishment would enable this to expand.  An overhead projected bulletin would run before Sunday morning worship to better communicate to the congregation the activities that have taken place and those that are to come. 

It was seen as important that those whose connection to church is limited to Sunday worship should be encouraged to help and support mid-week activities.

Consideration would be given to a stewardship campaign to increase giving.

·  to review and increase their mission and outreach

Producing a welcome pack for the new houses on Red Bank was considered but best done as churches together.

One weekend a year to focus on mission alternating between home and world mission with events and appropriate speakers.

 

Other Chapels in the circuit: Providence, Llangurig and Stepaside did not feel they were in a position to extend their discipleship programmes, improve their stewardship, or increase their mission and outreach.