Vision and Values at All Saints
Missional (John 3: 16-21 and Matthew 5: 13-16)
We’ve just begun a new series thinking about our Vision and Values here at All Saints.
Our Vision is to be a welcoming, growing, vibrant church for the community of Denmead.
The first value we identified was Love – we want to be a loving community – that as God’s people we want to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves.
And following right behind this value, in fact almost inextricably linked to loving, was a deep desire to be a missional people.
In all that we are, and all that we do, in every area of life, individually and collectively, we will reach out to others with the love of God.
To be a people whose heart’s desire is outward… not focussed on us… but longs to share God’s love with others.
Our thinking was influenced by two passages – both of which we heard earlier.
Our passage from John’s gospel begins with perhaps one of the best-known passages of scripture. Jesus says
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish – but have eternal life”
No other verse in the Bible so succinctly summarizes God’s relationship with humanity and the way of salvation.
Some consider John 3:16 as the “theme verse” for the entire Bible. John 3:16 tells us of the love God has for us and the extent of that love—so great that He sacrificed His only Son on our behalf.
John 3:16 teaches us that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, will be saved.
This verse gives us the glorious hope of eternal life through the love of God and death of Jesus Christ.
This love, God’s love… for each and every person is beyond compare… it is deep, it is real, it is amazing…. The very best,
And it is this love – the good news of Jesus that we are called to share with others.
In fact, it is our calling…. Jesus made that calling clear in his sermon on the mount.
As Jesus spoke to all his would-be followers Jesus said you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Jesus was calling his early disciples, those who wanted to follow after him to be different, to be distinctive…to make a difference, to be salt, to be light in the darkness.
And that calling remains true for us today…
We are called to be salt, to be light, to be distinctive, to be different…
to reach out to others with the love of God.
Our calling, to share God’s love impacts every of life, both as individuals and as a community of faith in this place.
Now one of the ways we can do this collectively is to work in partnership with charities and mission organisations to share God’s love with those in need.
In recent years All Saints has supported many, many different missionary groups and charities… sending them money each year – about 7% of our income, and occasionally exchanging news.
Now this was, and has been good, but it was rather hard to remember who we were working with… and to form any meaningful relationships/partnerships in which news and prayers requests were exchanged… as there were in a sense too many.
And so, the Mission team have made the decision to work in much closer partnership with 5 main groups, in the hope that with time, we will develop and form stronger and deeper partnerships – partnerships which aren’t just about us sending financial support (all though we will of course continue to do this) but partnerships in which news is exchanged, prayers are shared, friendships formed, projects and initiatives are supported, the voice of the marginalised championed and as a result God’s love is shared in very real practical ways.
So I’m just going to introduce us to each mission partner…
The Children’s Society
The Children’s Society are a national charity that works with the country’s most vulnerable children and young people. They seek to listen, support and act – because no child should feel alone.
Last year they worked with over 11,000 vulnerable children and young people, while their policy changes will improve the lives of more than half a million children.
Already at All Saints we hold a Christingle Service each Advent in support of the Children’s Society and many of our members collect loose change at home to donate at the Box Opening each year. But we are looking to build this relationship to perhaps support other projects.
Friends Without Borders
The mission group was aware that we are close to Portsmouth – an area that has many asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants. And so, the mission group was keen to partner with a charity that works on their behalf.
Friends Without Borders provides a drop-in project giving clients a safe place to meet and professionally access advice and advocacy. They provide specially trained Access to Justice Volunteers who give free legal advice to those who need it.
Today we have Michael Wooley with us, the Chair of Friends Without Borders.
Church Mission Society
Now the Church Mission Society works all around the world enabling, facilitating, training Christians to make a difference and join in God’s mission both abroad and in local contexts.
We’re just forming a link and beginning to support a young family, Doug and Jacqui Marshall who work in Malta supporting and caring for Asylum Seekers.
We really hope that this link will grow and that perhaps next year they might be able to visit us, and that we can really develop a friendship with, and be supportive to Doug and Jacqui and their family.
Mission Aviation Fellowship.
This is what MAF say:
In today’s ‘connected world’, the irony is that never have so many people been so isolated. Flying onto desert and jungle airstrips, lakes and rivers, tracks and roads, MAF’s light aircraft and their mission pilots go the extra miles to provide a lifeline.
Working in partnership with hundreds of other Christian and relief organisations, MAF enables practical help, physical healing, and spiritual hope to be delivered to many of the most remote and inaccessible communities on the planet. For 70 years, MAF has been flying for life.
We have supported MAF on and off over the years – we now want to work harder at forming a close partnership with them, supporting their projects, praying for their work and raising awareness.
IDWAL stands for the Inter Diocesan West Africa Link that Portsmouth diocese encourages. It is a link All Saints have supported very closely over several years, and we didn’t want to lose this link. Our Deanery Havant is linked with Diocese of Koforidua, Ghana.
And as a church we are linked to St Paul’s, Tafo. Over the years we have worked in close partnership with several visits taking place. Last year we had a special week focussed on our partnership with St Paul’s.
We want to do whatever we can to encourage and develop this link – and the sharing of new and prayer requests.
As we move into next year, we really want to encourage these links, we hope each month to focus on one of our mission links, to share news, to share prayer requests, to raise awareness.
Each day at Morning Prayer – starting tomorrow we will pray for our mission links… A different link each day.
And we’ve also updated our noticeboards at the back of church and our website with a whole section focussed on our mission links… we will use these spaces to post up news, share prayer requests.
So, let’s just take a moment to be still – to reflect on all that we’ve heard…and then I’ll lead us in prayer.
Thank you for sending Jesus to die for each of us, so that we could know eternal life.
Help us to be salt and light… to be distinctive, to make a difference to share your love and truth with others.
Lead us together, as we seek to work in partnership with others to share your love locally and further afield.
We pray in Jesus name, Amen.
As we live in this way, with this value central to all we do….
It will help us to be a welcoming, growing, vibrant church for the community of Denmead. It will help us be a people who KNOW God, GROW deeper in Him and SHOW His love and truth to others. Amen.