Church Consultation on Future Service Patterns in preparation for Joint PCC on 2nd October 2021

Discusison paper in preparation for PCC on Service PatternsSt Andrew’s & All Saints: A Future Service Pattern

Church Consultation in preparation for the joint PCC meeting on 2nd October

Click here or the picture above to hear Dave explain the Church consultation process. 

Click here to complete the online feedback survey

A paper copy of the survey to complete can be downloaded here: Discusison paper & survey

Over the last 18 months we have been operating on an ever changing temporary service pattern as COVID restrictions have continually altered. Before the summer holidays, PCC agreed that we would adopt the current service pattern as a temporary measure (this can be seen in Appendix A below), and then have a joint PCC away morning on 2nd October to try and make some decisions on more permanent service patterns for the future.

This has been a season of uncertainty, of experimentation and of discernment as we have prayerfully sought to recognise what God has been doing and where God is leading us. We have particularly committed this to prayer over recent weeks – not least at All Saints on Wednesday mornings, which began as a commitment to pray for 5 weeks to discern God’s leading, and 20 weeks later we are still there praying, having sensed God not only direct us towards his vision, but also align us as a community towards that vision.

I’ve been very clear that the right question to ask in at this time is not ‘What do we want it to be’ but ‘What does God want to lead us into, for the future?’ and that is the question we must hold onto as we prayerfully come to make some decisions.

As we have prayed, some scripture which has particularly stood out is the following…

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  (John 17:20-21)

And as we have prayerfully reflected on this we hear

  • The call to Unity – joining together as one (for the individual churches, for us as a team, and also for wider and for the whole of Malvern).
  • The call to be outward looking in our worship too – so that the world may believe – our ministry is not just for us, but also for those in the Community who do not yet believe and are not yet with us…

Having discussed this with the leadership/ministry teams across both churches (and it is important to see the big picture across both churches to see how it all fits together), I would like to outline some proposals which we’ll take directly to the joint PCC meeting on 2nd October, and also open up some areas for discussion to get some feedback from you all, which I hope will help PCCs make some further decisions when they meet.

Proposals (i.e. we present it as a proposal, not up for discussion):

    • That we move permanently to a single service at All Saints (except perhaps on the 2nd Sunday) which is a ‘blended service’ of contemporary and traditional.
    • That we retain the current contemporary service on a Sunday at St Andrew’s and an evening service (but location is up for discussion).
    • That we keep going with our new Early Birds service at 9am at St Andrew’s now on 1st, 3rd, 5th

Discussion Points (to get feedback on to take to PCCs):

    • Should we explore (at some point – and not before Christmas and depending on leadership capacity then) starting an ‘All-in café church’ in the Malvern Wells Village Hall on the 2nd Sunday of the month alongside the AS service (which would have more of a traditional feel that day)? This would be largely lay-led by a team. 
    • What is the right time for the All Saints Blended Service – is it 9:30am? 10am? Or another time?
    • What is the right location for ‘The Six’ evening service – St Andrew’s or All Saints?
    • Should the midweek service at St Andrew’s return to 9am on a Sunday morning (in its current style of ‘blended’ traditional and contemporary worship) once COVID cases have consistently dropped to negligible levels, or should it stay permanently as a midweek service?
    • Do we look to set up (at some point – and not before Christmas, and depending on leadership capacity then) a ‘fresh expressions’ monthly Sunday gathering at the Octagon (say 3pm) which we hope might connect particularly with CAP clients, folk on the estate etc.? This would be largely lay led by a team. 
    • We probably will not have capacity for starting two new services (the monthly ‘All-In Café Chruch’ at the Malvern Wells Village Hall and the Monthly Octagon ‘Fresh expression’). Which one, if any, do we sense God most leading us to at the moment?

Whilst we hope to make some clear decisions on 2nd October, there is so much is still up in the air, especially as

  1. We don’t know about future ministerial capacity – Peter is due to be moving on from us in the next few months, so whatever we propose must be sustainable in the long term, and we only have limited capacity.
  2. We don’t know what will happen with COVID in the coming months, but it seems likely there will be another wave of some sort and cases will rise in the coming weeks not fall.

So we may not implement some of our decisions for several months (or until we have extra capacity ‘post-Peter’), and we continue to seek God over timing and how to transition, as well as the end result. What I have said, for now, is that we will not start any form of new service until at least January when we hopefully will know a bit more about Peter’s situation and COVID.

We need your feedback:

We’d love to hear any comments that you have on the following proposal and discussions areas.

Please complete preferably the online google survey here, or if you would prefer, a paper version which you can download here and return it to the Church office by Tuesday 28th September.

If you would like to talk further about anything then please speak to one of the clergy, wardens or leadership team, as we really do want to hear your feedback and thoughts by Tuesday 28th September.

We will also be having 3 opportunities to discuss these issues in person (particularly for those most affected):

Wednesday 22nd September 9:30am (after prayers) at All Saints

Thursday 23rd September 12noon (after midweek service) at St Andrew’s

Sunday 26th September 11:15am (after the 10am service) at All Saints

Thank you so much,

Dave & the PCCs of St Andrew’s & All Saints.


Appendix A: Current Service pattern across our churches (as of September 2021):

 The diagram below outlines the current pattern across St Andrew’s & All Saints for each of the five Sundays in a month.

 To give you an idea of attendance currently:

Early Birds  – around 25-30 with half adults and half children

St Andrew’s Contemporary  – around 60-80 adults and 15-30 children

The Six at St Andrew’s – around 20-30 adults (and 10-15 Chaos meeting at the same time)

10am All Saints – about 30-35 adults and 1 or 2 children

Midweek Service at St Andrew’s– about 20-25 adults