Christian Ministry

Pastoral Ministry

Looking out and caring for one another are an important part of what it means to be a member of St. Mary’s. We are being challenged to see care as a vocational calling of the whole people of God, so that Pastoral Care becomes the responsibility of all of us, not just the Church leaders.

Pastoral Care is the term that we broadly apply to a ministry of compassion, encouragement and transformation within our shared Christian lives. We recognise that Jesus came to bring a fullness of life for all people (John 10:10) and our goal is to help people on that journey, to encourage and support them to live in the strength of the Holy Spirit and according to the example of Jesus.

It is about taking the focus off ourselves, and looking outwards to the needs of individuals in the community. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)

We continue to pray, discuss and work towards how we might be more effective in seeking to offer pastoral care to one another, and out into the wider community, as we serve, walk alongside, draw near, support and build community in real and practical ways.

This originally focussed on two key areas, with Scriptural teaching for the whole fellowship, linked to the formation of a new Pastoral Care Team.

A preaching series looked at aspects of Caring, Serving and Pastoring Well, teaching us about how and why we should all care for one another, and the attitudes we should demonstrate, in particular the Agape, self-giving, unconditional love of God that we receive ourselves, and which unmerited we should pass on to others.

We continue to listen, respond, pray, accept, share, encourage and provide practical, caring support to each other. Part of our teaching focussed on the 9 different aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

In addition to learning about our own responsibilities as individuals, we formed a new Pastoral Care Team. This is made up of some people already experienced over many years in aspects of care, as well as people who have had little experience but have a heart for learning and growing in this ministry.
Reverend Phil Dykes, the Winchester Diocesan Adult Discipleship Adviser, offered much practical and spiritual guidance in helping us with the formation of the team, including leading a Training Day. This helped us clarify what it is we believe the Lord is calling us to do, as well as identifying what ongoing training and resources we need on the journey. We ended the day with a helpful period of reflection, before moving forward with a clearer sense of the way ahead.

The Pastoral Care Team has now been operational since Autumn 2013, offering support and help to anyone who would like to receive care as they face the varying circumstances that life can bring. In addition we give ongoing care, particularly to those who are not in Home Groups as the members in
the group can normally offer care for one another. We seek to show the love of Jesus to those who are in need at any particular time

Three of the current team members attended the Association of Christian Counsellors Pastoral Care Course, which proved to be very informative and helpful. Any members of St. Mary’s Church who feel that they have a listening ear and would like to be part of the team, should speak to Diane in the office.

Communion at Home

In addition many team members take Holy Communion to Residential Homes within the parish and to individuals in their homes who are no longer able to come to church. Tim heads up this part of the ministry. If anyone in the parish would like to know more or would like to receive Holy Communion at home please speak with Tim via the Church Office.

Bereavement

We also follow up those in the parish who have lost loved ones and whose funerals have taken place at St. Mary’s.
A card is sent to the bereaved expressing our sympathy and offering a visit.
We also let them know the date of the All Souls’ Service each year when they can come and share a special time of remembrance. Heather looks after this part of the Pastoral Care Ministry so if we are made aware of anyone who would welcome a visit because of bereavement, Heather is the person to contact.

Healing & Wholeness Ministry

During January 2018 we followed a sermon series around the area of Healing and Wholeness, addressing ‘Healing and Wholeness,’ ‘What is Healing?’ ‘Who can be Healed?’ and ‘The Significance of Faith.’

A group of us then completed an exciting new short course entitled ‘Growing a Healing Ministry.’ The subjects covered were:

Seeds of Faith (Breadth of God’s healing, including today)

Rich Soil for Growth (Respectful, Inclusive, Communal, Holistic)

Leaves for Healing (Different ways of offering healing)

Growing a Healing Church (Becoming a healing community)

On Sunday 29th April 2018 we held out first Healing & Wholeness Service, and we have had regular services approximately every two months since then. We are excited about how God is continuing to lead and develop these fruitful and valued aspects of pastoral ministry here, as we work towards this one strand of God’s Vision to SERVE one another. May He continue to guide and bless us for His glory.

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Christian Ministry

Prayer Ministry

“And I will do whatever you ask in My name,
so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.”

John 14:13-14

We continue to be challenged and encouraged by the promises of God in the Bible where we have been exhorted to pray! As prayer is one of the three key areas we are engaged in as part of the Vision that the Lord has for us here at St. Mary’s, we are continuing to seek to learn what this means in practice.

We pray because we understand prayer to be a form of service to God which He commands of us, and which we delight in obeying. As God also intends prayer to be the means of obtaining His solutions to many of the circumstances and situations we find in the challenges of everyday life, because it gives us the strength to face and overcome temptation, to strengthen other people spiritually and as a means of God’s will being ‘done on earth as it is in Heaven’, so we are continuing to seek to become a more prayerful community in many ways.

Further to a Prayer Workshop and a Prayer Ministry Training Day we followed this up with the formation of a Prayer Ministry Team. To encourage all members of the church, we offered a Sermon Series studying what God’s word has to say about prayer, engaging with key issues such as:

  • Human frailties and Jesus’ teaching about the three imperatives to Ask, Seek, Knock
  • God’s call for persistence and sincerity in our prayers
  • How can we pray ‘mountain moving’ prayers
  • How to pray when God seems absent
  • Modelling ourselves on Jesus as the perfect example of what a prayerful life could be like

All in all, this was a thought provoking series for us as we came to realize more and more, not just the challenges but also the immense privileges, of being able to pray to our loving Heavenly Father.

The Team benefitted from a further Training Day on Saturday 16th April 2016 and it was also available as an opportunity to recruit more members to the team.

The St. Mary’s Prayer Ministry Team offers prayer for members of the 10.30am congregation, and for visitors and guests, every Sunday of the month. Also Prayer Ministry is available during the second Sunday of the month at the 9am service.

Since inception, the Team has asked God to help with numerous aspects of personal requests, which people have explained to them, either concerning themselves or on behalf of others. A team member writes, “The team are in awe of how they are being used by God. We remind ourselves that we are just channels through which the Holy Spirit can work, and it is a huge privilege to be part of something that touches people and builds community.”

15 people, some existing team members and others interested in Prayer Ministry, attended a very informative and helpful Training Day on Saturday 15th October 2016 from 10am to 3pm. Led by two experienced Prayer Team practitioners from Woking, the day included Biblical teaching, practical guidance, modelling examples and the opportunity to practise listening to God and to the person being prayed for at the same time. Our grateful thanks to leaders Colin and Judy.

The Prayer Chain plays an important part of our prayer life outside the Sunday services. As intercessory prayer is simply prayer for other people we intercede when we take the place of someone else by pleading to God on their behalf.

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul says that Christians should be “….praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication ….” The word supplication has the meaning of bending, in humbleness and humility, and kneeling before the majesty of the Creator God in prayer for another person is a tremendous privilege.

The scope of intercessory prayer is awesome because it opens up the possibility that those we pray for may experience the power of God’s love, and feel the peace, healing and comfort of God’s presence with them in their time of need.

Here at St. Mary’s we seek to connect any of our members who are already leading a life of prayer, and who wish to intercede for others, with other people in our fellowship who would value prayer. We want all members of this fellowship to join in prayers to seek God’s best, not just for ourselves, our family and our church, but also for those with a particular need at a particular time. We believe that when everyone is praying simultaneously for the same request, there really exists a tremendous power in our shared prayers.

To be a member of our Prayer Chain simply means that you will receive a request to pray for someone in need, for whom you immediately intercede in prayer. The prayer request will normally come to you by email via the Church Office. If you are a member of St. Mary’s and would like to be included on the Prayer Chain list, then please contact the Parish Administrator.

At St. Mary’s we continue to host our Parish Prayer Meetings throughout the year. During our interregnum these will be held every Thursday from 7.30pm to 8.30pm in the Church Centre. The evenings are led by a variety of people using different styles, models and patterns of prayer, so that each evening is unique, stimulating and engaging.

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Christian Ministry

Music Ministry

In the Bible, the word worship is usually derived from the Hebrew word shachah which roughly translates as “to bow down.” This is what we come to do when we join together as St. Mary’s Church for our songs, Bible study and prayers seek to reflect that fundamental part of the Christian faith, the desire to bow down in humility before our Almighty Creator. 

At St. Mary’s we seek to be an encouragement to people and to help equip believers to communicate the truth and joy of this wonderful Gospel story through the use of their artistic gifts. From the Classic Traditional using our magnificent organ to the Contemporary and Modern with the latest technological and innovative developments in worship, there is a place for everyone at St. Mary’s Church, a building which has excellent acoustic properties that provide an ideal setting for the whole range of worship styles and concerts.

We are always looking for additional singers and musicians to help and lead worship for our Sunday Services.

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