Mission Survey

Parish: St James

Deanery: Merton

Date: 2015



“Isn’t it good that...”

Buildings & grounds

  • Well kept,
  • good first impressions,
  • good assets,
  • church door and chapel open daily,
  • add to financial security
  • hall – entry point for people coming in – seeing/learning about us.
  • Outside space used for events
  • Feibusch mural – work of art and religious inspiration

Committed congregation

  • Informal links,
  • sense of community and fellowship,
  • good organisation,
  • core of families at Family Service


  • Links with local school,
  • trying with outreach
  • Links with local charities – foodbank/Christian Care
  • compassion


  • Responsible,
  • organised,
  • stable
  • regular and committed fundraising
  • charitable giving

Interregnum and new arrangements

  • Retired priest in congregation
  • Supportive local clergy for Thursday services
  • Looking forward to going forward
  • Visiting priests – experiencing different styles/teaching


  • on main road by bus stop,
  • with parking


  • children active participants; felt “safe” speaking at Patronal service
  • freedom to speak without fear of being laughed at or being “stupid”
  • being “allowed to be” and not being nagged to be something different to “fit in”
  • inclusivity – included and encouraged, but freedom to join in or not if preferred


  • Hospitality,
  • social events,
  • welcoming/helpful/friendly group
  • camaraderie
  • inclusivity and witness; chance to get to know us without pressure
  • fellowship – after service coffee. Meet and talk about anything – religious/service or general/personal interest.
  • Warmth of people
  • Welcomers – helpful and welcoming
  • Talking and conversation
  • Good “in-house” communication


  • compassion and support for each other
  • sensitivity for others’ needs
  • made to feel wanted and welcome
  • part of the community of the church – missed if not there
  • feeling of Christian love
  • brothers and sisters in Christ, in joy and sadness

Talent Pool

  • Wide range of skills
  • Generosity of time
  • willingness to use skills
  • opportunities to contribute and use gifts
  • lay led events – Advent/Lent groups, Family Services, opening and closing of chapel, home communions
  • organisational skills


  • Dignity, choir and servers move during the services in a dignified way. Dignified rhythm to services.
  • good music and choir, supporting and leading worship
  • Traditional/Catholic nature of liturgy; ritual – “if that’s what you’ve been brought up to, it’s what you want when you come back”. Includes incense, bells, servers
  • inclusive worship
  • “get something” out of it,
  • Walsingham and Wychcroft
  • Family Service
  • Reverence
  • Members of congregation reading, praying and administering the sacrament
  • All Age Eucharist – bringing all together, and moving children on to Eucharistic worship
  • Teaching – in sermons, Lent and Advent groups, Family Service notice board
  • Blessed Sacrament reserved in the chapel and available for home communions
  • Thursday Eucharist
  • Silences – to absorb and reflect what has happened/been said
  • Monthly healing service

Our Weaknesses

Isn’t it a pity that...”

Building and grounds

  • Ineffective/aging/outdated heating – always cold in winter,
  • Poor heating in hall worse than that in church – “only an hour and you can keep your coat on”
  • not “obviously” a church, if you don’t know
  • poor access to altar rail – steps to chancel and lack of altar rail across the middle section

Committed Congregation

  • Ageing/dwindling,
  • not attracting new people,
  • gap between congregations,
  • church happens on a Sunday” only
  • limited local visiting and (obvious) concern for ill/“absent” members
  • lack of volunteers for during services
  • few families
  • children not genuine part of serving team – on rota and treated as adults


  • poor use of IT – facebook, website, twitter, blog etc
  • newsheet brief
  • info only on newsheet once – if you are away that week you’ve missed it
  • many people don’t use (either at all, or well) the existing technology we’ve got – sound system, microphones etc,
  • often “grapevine” and rumour


  • No affiliated groups,
  • poor “marketing/advertising”,
  • low personal (door to door) contact with community
  • don’t have practical ways of outreach
  • poor witness to others

Interregnum and new arrangements

  • Anxiety and low morale in congregation


  • No “centre” to community
  • Many other churches nearby


  • Few people invite newcomers into coffee and sit with them and introduce to others.
  • Difficult to get to know/remember names
  • Tendency to greet the same people
  • Newcomers not always welcomed

Talent Pool

  • not always using talents appropriately,
  • offers of help/suggestions not taken up
  • relatively small proportion of regular congregation,
  • no obvious replacements to leaving people – in choir and other “posts”,
  • not full knowledge for fully effective use of IT – hall listings, website, facebook, twitter etc
  • lack of information about what jobs entail


  • Few services
  • Few opportunities for prayer/testimony/bible groups
  • Difficult access to altar rail for those with disabilities
  • Few opportunities for personal witness
  • No regular bible study; evenings often difficult for people and nothing during the day.
  • No silent prayer/meditation groups or services
  • No house groups (except at Advent)
  • Too noisy before services – limited chance for silent prayer and reflection

Our Opportunities

Wouldn’t it be good if ...”

Buildings and grounds

  • Groups to use church on Sunday pms and weekdays.
  • A sign outside the church, to say the chapel is open for prayer and quiet time.
  • Fix the heating

Committed congregation

  • chance to involve and engage congregation to keep what we have.
  • carry on what we are doing eg rotas, coffee, flowers, readings etc and support each other, and to encourage others to participate to be more effective
  • to deepen our hearts and lives after the Lent groups, by meeting together
  • as we are an ageing congregation, there is a lot of experience, maybe we could meet in each other’s houses, so their prayer and living the Christian life can be shared.


  • get hall used by more groups – “timed” timetable
  • build on links with JHP, after all the work Jonathan has done, and other schools
  • speakers from different walks of life within the community, to give talks about their work
  • coffee mornings to be held in various houses within the parish; leaflet a road, to invite your neighbours to come and meet your neighbours.
  • welcome to new neighbours” pack, with local details including of what we offer.


  • new parish share system will enable us to tie money into goals, budget for change, and balance giving to others against our needs, rather than prioritising our “Fairer Shares” payment as in the past
  • No priest, therefore now self-sufficient.

Interregnum and new arrangements

  • Integrate more with other churches – get to know each other
  • Support other’s outreach and fellowship
  • Forge links with St Mary’s
  • Diversify worship
  • What would be involved if we joined up with the Methodists?
  • Possible part time priest living in the vicarage
  • Freedom to take the initiative, now we are without a priest.
  • Felt a living strength has come out of the (Lent) group. We will flourish!
  • Holy Spirit will prompt us through prayer


  • Many other churches nearby for liaison, help and working together
  • Be seen as a force for good

Talent pool

  • take up those offers of time and talents not done so already
  • use talents from elsewhere eg students looking to set up websites, blogs etc.


  • Tap into thirst for spirituality
  • A notice about the prayer requests, can be put on the notice board, to say that they will be prayed for within the church
  • Different types of worship and music, to attract a younger group, maybe on a Sunday evening, or once a month, to have a more relaxed type of service without communion.

Our Mission Values

What influences and motivates us …

Different influences affect what/how we do

– internal/external, +ve/-ve


  • I need someone to start me off, then I’m ok in getting things going
  • Each of our various priests have brought different things, the way they live their lives, preach the gospel etc.
  • Strong leadership is a unifier
  • Being given the next step - something achievable and see achievements. Small contributions add together to make a great whole.

In spite of…

  • When something happens, you don’t give up, you go somewhere else and start again; looking forward to expansion in spite of difficulty
  • I want to keep going here and not disperse
  • We can look forward to the future; a chance to try other things. An opportunity and changes might work out to our benefit
  • To do things differently; a challenge
  • Not to give the diocese the satisfaction of closing us
  • Holding what we are given in trust against attacks – “keep faith and hold trust”
  • Rising to challenges – wanting to contribute
  • Seems to be little help/influence/support from the Diocese. Have to do it ourselves


  • Nice atmosphere of service. Restful.
  • Blind faith and optimism
  • Prayer
  • Holy Spirit
  • Jesus and the church; part of a body;part of a building (corner stone), part of a loving relationship – not separate
  • Church is a refuge; a safe space and to meditate.
  • The structure of the church and grounds/ the murals/ simplicity/ the welcomers add to and enhance the spiritual experience


  • A piece of everyone else
  • To serve who is here
  • Enthusiasm and encouragement from other people.
  • Sensitivity to and awareness of others motivates to listen, help, get involved
  • Acceptance of each other – warts and all
  • Congregation – all different but all welcome. All generations can come together
  • At St James’s there is little of the grumbling/backbiting/rejection that goes on at some places – want to do more to sustain this
  • Welcoming congregation motivates to come to church
  • The habit of being among fellow Christians.


  • Opportunity to contribute
  • Wanting to support others eg foodbank>
  • A great deal to be thankful for – putting something back