Has Spring Sprung?

Dear JohnPaul Parish

We hold our APCM (Annual Parochial Church Meeting) on Sunday 12th May this year (12-1pm). I would love to see some of our newer faces there this year.  We have already got three new members of the PCC – all from amongst our new families, which is just fab!  However, I want to invite more of you to join us as we review the last year and look to the future.

Findings from our Vision Day in February

For those of you who like the details, see below for the full notes from our Vision Day at Whalley Abbey.  For those of you who like the headlines, here they are:


  1. Continue our Connect groups – these are the place where you meet weekly with people within the church in small groups. The aim is to encourage you to connect better with God, better with each other and better with our community.

  1. Improve our welcome – this means encouraging everyone to notice newcomers and welcome them. It means improving the Sunday services, developing our sung worship, improving the heating at St John’s, putting comfortable chairs and a new AV system into St Paul’s.

  1. Improve our Family Engagement – The two children’s parties have really helped this. We want us to focus on this more, so will set up a task force for this.

  1. Stop dwelling on the past which leads to dithering.

  1. Develop Prayer – We have already planned a series of sermons on Prayer after Easter which will be combined with a Prayer course in Connect groups.

  1. Growing Leaders – We are already doing this with AV at St John’s and Amanda and Ian are running regular START courses to deepen the faith understanding of future leaders. We can do more, so we will set up a task force to look at this.

  1. How to reach the next generation ie 20s,30s and 40s. We have an opportunity every year to share the good news with those who come to church to get their children into St John’s school and those who come to Families@5.  How do we move people from being on the edge of church, to becoming more involved?  We have encouraged people on the START course and to do jobs within the church.  But there is more to be done.  Could our Outreach team pick this up?

  1. Fellowship – Try to have more fun events for the church family. St Paul’s have a social group but it is mainly full of older people.  Could younger people join?

  1. More Community Presence – We have already organised a free Ceilidh and a Harvest Supper for Saturday 29th September at St John’s. One of our congregation is going to organise a Christmas Meal this year.  And others have suggested we do some Community Litter picking. 


Vision Statement

Finally, we realised that despite having a really fruitful Vision Day, we had not actually produced a Vision Statement.  I imagine you can see the direction we are taking from the above.  However, the Ministry team hope to create a pithy, positive statement of intent for JohnPaul Parish and will check it out with you before we add to all our advertising.


What’s been happening recently?

  • Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday – thanks to our fabulous catering teams.

  • Mother’s day at both churches – thanks to those who do our lovely flowers.

  • Healing services – Thanks to our LLMs, Patricia and Tony for helping with this..

  • OFSTED at St John’s school – Well done to our governors and staff!

  • Our Connect groups have just finished the Bible series with great feedback. https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/resources/the-bible-series-experience-a-better-story/.

  • Accrington Christians Together Mission – We put up the two young men who came from Capernwray as part of the team of five. One of them had lived all his life in Albania and was able to act as translator to our new Albanian family.

  • Patricia celebrated 25 years as a Reader or LLM (Local Lay Minister) with a cake and a lovely sandwich lunch after the joint service on palm Sunday. A really lovely occasion.


What’s Coming Up?

  • Ian Rushton and I are leading a START course after Easter – do ask us about it!

  • Keep an eye on our calendar on the website for any events that are planned.

  • We are making several bids for grants for the repairs needed on the steeple at St John’s and for our new heating system there too.

  • Could you help with our graveyard over the summer months? Two of our regular mowers are getting too old and we really need help.

  • Henry will be doing some training for those who might want to join the tech team

  • Amanda is doing some training for those in the pastoral team who would like to take round home communions for those who cannot get to church.


Wishing you a very happy Easter!


Amanda and the team at JohnPaul Parish


JohnPaul Parish Vision Day Notes Saturday 10th February 2024

Group exercise 1: Dwelling in God’s word

We reflected on key passages of scripture, as suggested by the ministry team

 How is God speaking to us through Scripture?

Change – forget the past do a new thing

Do not dwell on the past

Persevere – challenges to come

Step by step – not linear, take a risk

Wilderness to a fruitful harvest

Group exercise 2: What we should stop, start, continue (as it is) and Grow & Develop


Growing Leaders

Connect groups

Toast time

Busy Bees

Engagement with the diocese (e.g. visits from Bishops etc.)

Children’s work


Listening to God

Grow & Develop

Prayer life (personal/individual & together)

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Prayer ministry

Growing leadership, gifts and talents

Listen to God and act on it

Discipleship (faith impact on the rest of the week)

Connect groups (engage whole congregation)

Family engagement (Families@5)

Sung worship in services (participation)

Community presence

Creativity (try new things in services, not always exactly the same)

Next generation – 20s, 30s, 40s


Thinking of ourselves as one church (our) incl. getting people to both buildings

Christmas community meals

Fellowship (not Sunday) with new and old people

Encourage leadership in prayer

More joint services

Talking to people  we don’t know after the service

Explain in services why we do what we do (e.g. the peace)

Embrace change

Beyond Sunday morning e.g. Life skills that help to share/engage people in the good news

Youth group and leaders

Everyone is on the welcome team

Recognise gifts in ourselves and others


Dithering (indecision, apathy, frustration)

Being two separate churches


Making it difficult for new people

Talking only to those you know

Dwelling on the past (not wanting to let go)

Complaining and grumbling


Over lunchtime our facilitator consolidated the key themes of these to the following:



Connect Groups

Listening to God


Grow & Develop

Community presence

Leadership gifts and talents


Family engagement



Think and be one church

Welcome and include new people



Dwelling in the past