THE PARISH OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST LEMSFORD

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1 THE PARISH OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST LEMSFORD Parish Profile (March 2015) INTRODUCTION St John s Church is situated in Lemsford Village. It borders Welwyn Garden City along the A1(M). However, since it is within the Hatfield civic boundary, it is a member of the Bishop s Hatfield Team along with the three Hatfield churches and St. Mary s, North Mymms. The 6 th Earl Cowper wished to build a church for his tenants and on his death his wife and children completed the task in Thirteen Vicars have ministered in this church since then; the last two in part-time posts. The church is well placed; is described as beautiful within; is well ordered; has sound finances; a strong ministry with the school; successful community activity with its fête; and a welcoming congregation. St John the Evangelist Lemsford Parish Profile Page 1 of 9

2 THE LIVING STONES 1. Our Mission Action Plan (MAP) We want to follow our Bishop s initiative on Living God s Love. In developing our MAP, we carried out surveys with the congregation. What we found was that we were reasonably active in the community area but weaker in the aspects of Going Deeper and Making New Disciples. Our major areas hinged around: (i) prayer and spirituality, (ii) teaching and preaching for our learning, and (iii) music and sung worship. Sharing our faith (evangelism) scored poorly reflecting our need for good Bible-based teaching to instil confidence in our Lord Jesus and to challenge us to share the gospel with others. All this led us to develop over the next five years our Vision: Growing Together in Christ Our vision is to be people who worship God enthusiastically; who are growing in faith and numbers by being rooted in the teaching of the Bible and Christian attitudes; who reflect the love of Jesus in our lives and our service; and who are guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit in all we do. Our vision is still sound but our SMART goals probably need updating. 2. Our Services From a small semi-rural parish of about 500 people, the congregation is best described as gathered predominantly from the surrounding towns of Welwyn Garden City (60%), Hatfield, Harpenden and the new estate in Hatfield Garden Village. Our electoral roll stands at 121 with about 23% living within the parish. Attendance varies between 60 to 100 depending on the services and has generally held up over past years. The mix of BCP and Common Worship coupled with a monthly Family Service is attractive in its variety. Once a term the school join us for a service with many young people taking part. We rejoice in many special services during the year, at Advent, Christmas and Lent, and also on Mothering Sunday, Harvest Festival, All Souls, Remembrance Sunday, a nativity celebration with the children and regular services for Healing. We hold a weekly 8.a.m. Communion Service, and monthly Morning Prayer, Communion or Family Service at Children are catered for in Sunday Club, with two groups covering all ages from 3 to 11. Fortnightly we hold an informal St John the Evangelist Lemsford Parish Profile Page 2 of 9

3 Café Church in the evening for all ages, but with a particular focus on teenagers at school. During the week there is a Wednesday morning service, a school s service, a monthly well-attended home group in the village and a weekly one for the more elderly in their home. Once a month there is a short service at Stanborough Lodge, a care home within the parish. In churchmanship we are neither at the high end nor even liberal catholic. We have not dwelt on labels but have always considered our ethos to be very much middle-of-the-road. It has served us well and seems appropriate in attracting people from far and wide. We want it to continue and flourish in that way. A wedding at St. John s 3. Community Outreach We reach out to our community in a variety of ways, some are quite small tasks others carry extensive workload. Among these are: i. Stanborough Lodge Care Home monthly service and communion visits as requested; ii. Parish magazine produced bimonthly and distributed to every home in the parish as well as to all parents at St John s School. It provides a point of contact with small traders and some light industry and the advertising revenue is very necessary; iii. Carol singing around the parish at Christmastime, visiting the pubs and homes; iv. Annexe sharing although quite small, our Annexe is available for rent and we have a number of regular bookings; St John the Evangelist Lemsford Parish Profile Page 3 of 9

4 v. Hatfield Garden Village although not legally within our parish we distribute leaflets to all the new homes for the Christmas and Easter services; vi. Police Carol service for some years the Hertfordshire Constabulary have held their carol service at St. John s; vii. Lemsford Fête St. John s Church and School combine to put on this major undertaking. It is held on the first bank holiday in May, and draws in huge crowds from far and wide. The church is open for quiet reflection and music while the school grounds cater for young and old alike. The cooperative spirit of many volunteers is remarkable and a source of great fun although very demanding. It is the largest village fête in the county. Profits from the day are shared equally between school and church. We use our contribution to enhance our reserves and to make specific charitable donations; viii. School assemblies are held each week in church, plus a special assembly at the end of each term. The Vicar is a foundation governor ex-officio of the school; ix. Brocket Hall some couples marry at St John s and hold their receptions at Brocket Hall. We have a great opportunity of mission to support and strengthen the faith of engaged couples during the months leading to their wedding when they attend St John s. We hope it is a blessing to them and, if they stay in the area, an introduction to us as their home church. St John the Evangelist Lemsford Parish Profile Page 4 of 9

5 4. Who do we need We need a leader who is firmly assured of his/her salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; someone who is steeped in the Bible and desiring to pass on its truths to the congregation and parish. Such a person will love and care for our members, our school and our church. S/he will be able to guide us to fulfil our potential and be someone with the energy and enthusiasm to rise to the challenge. We hope our new Vicar will grasp the opportunity to take us all beyond our current state and lead us in these key areas: parochial ministry and worship; spiritual development of the congregation; school s ministry; community outreach also involving a leadership presence in the fête; and sharing spiritual gifts within the team. We also hope s/he will: be an inspirational person with vision, prayer and a pastoral heart who can help us achieve our MAP aims; be an enthusiastic, engaging team worker who is prepared to share ministry with lay members; provide support and encouragement to the many church volunteers; be a leader who will develop our spiritual gifts and regularly present the vocational call to the ministry; develop a good working relationship with the people and clergy of St. Michael s Birchwood and the Bishop s Hatfield Team; be guided by the Holy Spirit. St John the Evangelist Lemsford Parish Profile Page 5 of 9

6 5. What we offer Having described a number of the key points about our spiritual health, needs and aspirations, further information about ourselves, what we can offer you and some background details, is provided in summary form: A. Who are we? a church where there is a welcoming friendly atmosphere and a caring congregation; people are drawn by the pattern of worship, the attractive church building and the welcome extended; financially sound, have always paid our full parish share and have a building which is in excellent condition; middle of the road in our church tradition; part of the Bishop s Hatfield Team; a supportive and active laity. B. Life at St. John s laity support worship and teaching, including reading lessons, leading intercessions, organising and leading family services, house groups, assisting at Holy Communion, running Cafe Church and Sunday Club, and monthly Friendship Teas ; volunteers enable the smooth running and welcome in our church, including after-service coffee, social events, flower arranging, bell ringing, church cleaning and grounds maintenance; weekly pew sheets are provided with readings and forthcoming events and news, and a bi-monthly church magazine is distributed through the parish; the PCC is supported by the Standing and Finance Committees, while other groups take a lead on ministry, pastoral care, buildings, and social activities; a dedicated robed choir of adults and children with the guidance of our Organist/ Choir Director enrich our services with their singing; since her ordination in 2011, we have had a self-supporting curate who during this vacancy has worked beyond her commitment in most areas of parish ministry; approximately every two years we value the visit of our CMS mission partner who works in education and development in Pakistan. St John the Evangelist Lemsford Parish Profile Page 6 of 9

7 C. Mission statistics Here are a few statistics about church services and attendance in 2014, from among those now requested by the diocese each year (2013 and 2012 in italics) Easter 129 communicants (104, 104) 196 total (161, 213) Christmas 55 communicants (45, 65) 396 total (312, 255) Four Sundays in October 331 adults present (267, 304) 109 children present (81, 48) Baptisms 8 under 1 year (6, 12) years old (9, 5) 12 total (17, 17) 3 older (2 -) Confirmed 6 (9, 4) Weddings 8 (6, 7) Funerals 7 (7, 7) D. Where are we? We are situated in Hertfordshire where the current small semi-rural parish comprises the village of Lemsford, the hamlet of Cromer Hyde and the residential area of Stanborough; 30 minutes from London and Cambridge; On the East Coast Main Line; Easy access to the A1(M), M1 and M25; Only 12 miles from Luton Airport; Good public transport links to Letchworth, Stevenage, Hitchin and St Albans; Good local primary and secondary schools, plus the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. St John s Lemsford St John the Evangelist Lemsford Parish Profile Page 7 of 9

8 E. St. John s a bit of history. Dedicated in 1859 and sits at the south east side of Brocket Hall Park; Seats 180 people; Features the privately owned Brocket Chapel which seats 30, dedicated in 1932; The church annexe available for private hire seats 40 people and was dedicated in 1987; There is a Garden of Remembrance, refurbished in 2000 St John s Church of England JMI School (105 on roll) was opened in 1872 on the adjoining site, website F. Surrounding area The River Lea runs through Lemsford. The village features a large mill on the river which houses the Ramblers Association HQ; There are two pubs in Lemsford and some light industry; There are two championship quality 18-hole golf courses at Brocket Park opposite the church. The park, which is adjacent to the village, is open to the public for walks; Lemsford Springs is a nature reserve in Lemsford village managed by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust; The village has its own website at Views of Lemsford Mill and the River Lea in Lemsford St John the Evangelist Lemsford Parish Profile Page 8 of 9

9 CONCLUSION As members of St. John s we are very appreciative of the blessings we enjoy through our own fellowship and the faithful ministry of past Vicars. We recognise our inheritance of a beautiful church in a historic village. For the present we need to be encouraged, challenged and taught so that we can go deeper into God and make new disciples. We believe that prayer, sound teaching and the guidance of the Holy Spirit are the essential hallmarks to fulfilling our vision. Then we can hope to aspire to our Saviour s great commission to go and make disciples (Matt 28:19) and to leave a good heritage for our successors. A new Vicar will have the opportunity to lead us to fulfil our potential, and in sharing the same aspiration, vision, energy and mission drive will be prayerfully sought and greatly welcomed. St John s PCC March 2015 St John the Evangelist Lemsford Parish Profile Page 9 of 9

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