Outreach in east Bristol

    Around the Diocese
    14 May 2012

    What’s so inspiring?

    A heart for Jesus and proactive outreach to the local community is delivering growth in attendance, awareness and giving at St. Aidan’s in east Bristol.

    Who’s involved?

    Ministry team, PCC and congregation of St. Aidan’s (City Deanery).

    What was the thinking behind it?

    The parish has a two-pronged approach to mission: it aims to draw people into the life of the church both by making its building(s) available for activities and events but also by taking ministry out into the community at large. In the community, St. Aidan’s is now involved in outdoor services in the shopping precinct four times a year, leading assemblies, running ‘church experience days’ and providing support with reading, gardening and other skills in the local school (which is not, incidentally, a Church school) and regularly leading worship in the three local elderly people’s homes.

    Closer to home, the church building hosts an annual community fair for local organisations to showcase their services and a renowned programme of monthly concerts. As a result, worshipping numbers are up and the parish has been able to start a programme of giving to external missions as well as increasing its pledge to the diocese for the third year running.

    What was the key?

    “Our vision as a church is to be the hands, the feet, the eyes, the ears, the mouth and the heart of Christ in our area. Everything we do or achieve flows from this.

    We are focused on the community we serve and our growth is not just about numbers in pews on a Sunday, but about building connections with local people in all sorts of ways so they can begin to feel this is their church.We have also developed strong ecumenical links with our two neighbouring Methodist churches and work together to deliver some of our initiatives.

    When you walk through the neighbourhood and a seven-year-old boy shouts ‘Hello Rev Trev’, you know you’re doing something right!”

    Revd Trevor Denley, Ministry Team Leader at St. Aidan’s