FACT Mission Statement

We are :
From various churches
Assisting and serving our communities
Christians working together
To make a difference

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

What is this FACT review and 5 year plan all about then ???

When I mentioned the idea of a 5 year plan for FACT - someone suggested it sounded like something Stalin would come up with in the days of the old Soviet Union. I know I can come across as strict but it's not that terrible I can assure you.

The purpose is to look at what FACT is currently doing and to see whether we want to carry on doing each and every activity ( as time has gone on more things are added in and there comes a point when even with our enthusiasm, it starts to get hard to fit it all in and ensure it's done well ) that we do at present. It's also of course a chance to look at doing some different things.

What was a priority in the past may not be a priority now. Things and circumstances change and we need to be grown up enough in our ecumenical relationships to say that sometimes we need to change too. This isn't going to be a process without some hard decisions, it might be at the end of it some of our own personal cherished projects are dropped in favour of something new.

What is important is that we have a clear list of priorities for the next 5 years and that we are to set targets which we can look back to and see how well we have done. I know this sounds business like, but with the amount of money that our churches are investing in FACT each year, we need to ensure value for money.

It's also true that we need to ensure the greatest take up of each activity we do amongst our memberships and if the current activities aren't doing that, then I am prepared to wager that that's because they aren't what they see as priorities. Hopefully after the discussion and planning meetings, we will have a set of priorities and activities which we can all agree are worth while.

There is also the advantage that we will cost each item in the plan and therefore we should get a firmer picture of what FACT's expenses are going to be across the next 5 years and therefore consequently, how much we need to commit from our own budgets.

The process is as follows - Mid March - The Leaders meet for a day to discuss the "headline priorities" for each year.

Mid April - The Exec meet for a day to flesh out these priorities into actions for the first year

Early May - The Plan in draft form is sent to all churches to allow all members to read and comment

May 11th - FACT AGM discusses and adopts ( hopefully ! )the plan

May 13th - FACT Ascension Day worship - Plan formally signed as part of worship by the Leaders.

A lot of work ( and a lot of prayer and discernment needed ) and I hope it will be a worthwhile experience.

Lent Courses - Advance Notice

The joint Lent Course has become a part of FACT life across the last couple of years. This year as in the past two, we will follow the course produced by York Courses. This year it is entitled "When I Survey- Christ's Cross and Ours"

It's taking place in 10 places at 10 times and you are sure to find one to suit you. You don't need to go to the same one each week !

The joy of a joint Lent course is that you can attend a regular one or chop and change and know its the same course.

Of course, there is always going to be and element of diversity amid the unity. Each leader will do things is a slightly different way while keeping the message of the course the same!

Do try and make this part of your Lent this year. One appeal to you all would be to try and not get into the mindset of "I can only do Tues and that's not at my Church so I won't go"

No matter which group you join, you will find a warm welcome.

Times and dates are as follows : - Note change for Mells Group from original poster !

February 22rd,
March 1st, 8th,15th, 22nd
St John’s
Bath Street
Mrs Janet Caudwell

St Mary’s
Innox Hill
Rev David Barge

February 23rd ,
March 2nd,9th,16th, 23rd

St Catharine’s
Park Road
Rev David Brinn

February 24th
March 3rd,10th, 17th,24th
Nunney House Group
Mrs Monica Sandy

Holy Trinity
Trinity Street
Mr David Clarke

URC Church
Whittox Lane
Rev Angela Steele

February 25th
March 4th, 11th 18th,25th

Wesley Chapel
Wesley Slope
Rev Jill Warren

February 26th
March 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th
The Rectory
Rev John Hodder

Great Elm House Group
Edgecombe House
Mrs Anthea Kemp

Christ Church
Christchurch Street West
Rev Neil Maxted

Taize Evening - 14th February 6pm

Holy Trinity are holding a Taize evening on 14/2/10 at 6pm

If you don't know what Taize is - one way of finding out of course is to go along !- Taize is an ecumenical community of brothers and lay people, living and praying together, to show the way to an united Church and a united world of peace and reconcilliation ( it was born out of the embers of the Second World War) Their meditative and repatative chants ( like mantras really ) come in lots of different languages and are extremely easy to join in with. Its a form of worship especially popular with Youth, although its appeal crosses generational boundaries.

Do go along and experience this most ecumenical of worship types. It would be good to get something like this regularly going again in Frome and I know that St John's is planning on including some in the FACT Holy Week reflection which is taking shape and which will round off our Lent Course.

Further details from Holy Trinity Office.

Puppet Training Workshop - February 27th

Mark our Youth Worker is organising a puppet workshop for anyone interested in the possibility of using puppets in a Christian context !!!
Mark says :
"Whether you have never picked up a puppet in your life, or you want to develop your skills
and range of styles, this day is for you!"

The Holy Trinity Broadcasting Corporation puppet team at Holy Trinity Church, Frome, will give you
a fun-filled day of learning together in various formats as everyone works towards a final
performance at the end of the day.

Cost: £6.00 per person – this includes lunch

For more information or to book your place, please contact Mark or me

Week of Prayer - Round up

It was potentially a hectic week and no-one expected anyone to do the lot !

It was good to hear that some people made it to the "Come and See" services which were put on in our various churches last week. Hopefully next year more people will take the plunge and pop along, I know this is not place for reviews but I wonder if we needed some more evening ones.

It was lovely to go and use the stations of the Cross at St John's and that sharing of that resource is something I would like to persue.

We had a good service on Sunday evening, thanks to Graham and his team. One thing we do need to look at during the review of FACT's work and priorities is how we get more people along, to experience this important aspect of Unity.

Do try and get along sometime this year to another Church's worship and experience the Diversity and indeed the Unity.

On that note, when I was at the URC I noticed that the structure of their non-communion Sunday worship shares a lot in common with the RC mass. A strange feeling of unity with diversity struck me and I am sure that if we all went somewhere else just once, we would see the similarities rather than the differences leaping out at us.

"Well thats that over for another year !"-" O no it isn't! "

For some Churches Together groups it is the case that once the Week of Prayer is finished, ecumenical activity can go into its folder and remain there for another 12 months. We all know though that thats not what happens in Frome and certainly not this year as we start the review process for FACT.

Coming up in next few months ( in no particular order )

Lent Lunches
Lent Courses
HOPEFrome Litter picks
and more

Some preview posts coming up in next few days.
Keep watching.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Pulpit Exchange 17th January 2010

One very practical way in which we can experience what the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity means is our annual pulpit exchange.

For anyone who doesn't know what it entails, minsters and lay preachers go to other churches, of a different denomination and preach at a regular Sunday Services. Some lead the whole service, others just preach a sermon. Each year it gets larger and there is great deal of planning involved ( thanks Jim ) to make sure that we don't end up with preachers going to a different church of their own denomination, or that they are not returning too soon to a church where they preach in previous years.

This exercise is an important one as it allows us to discover Unity through Diversity in different ways. The receiving congregations experience the preaching of another tradition and the visiting preacher experiences worship in the style of worship of another tradition. Even when the visitor is taking the whole service, there are lots of benefits. The preacher learns to work within a framework of a usual service for another tradition, and the receiving congregation will inevitably experience a different style of worship and worship leadership.

Please pray for all who are exchanging as they prepare what they are going to say.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

We are fast approaching this most important time of year for any ecumenical group. The Week of Prayer is just over 100 years old as an idea, and its now an established part of the Church calendar. The reason the dates 18th-25th January were chosen originially was that 18th January was originally the Feast of the Chair of St Peter ( now 22nd February ) and 25th is the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. So it was logical to sandwich the week of prayer with these two feasts, which celebrate the two great saints who worked through their differences of opinion to unite the church when an early split in theological understanding ( whether or not someone who wanted to be Christian had to convert to Judaism first ) was threatening.

When I took over as FACT Chair I said I wanted this most important week to be marked in a special way and to be a genuine WEEK of prayer, not just one united worship.

Well, my rallying call has been answered and we do indeed this year have a genuine week of prayer with services on each day of the Octave ( alright we are starting on the 17th so the 25th will be empty ! )

So the next few posts will set out what is planned. Please try and attend as many as you can and learn something about another tradition's way of worship. The two groundrules we set were that there was to be no "watering down" of normal services and respect for each others' position on inter-communion. The aim is to truely discover the Unity we have while discovering our Diversity.

Where Next for FACT ?????

We are all rightly proud of how far down the ecumenical road FACT is. We have come a long way together and while there is still a long way to go, we can take heart that we are a lot further on and a lot closer than many ecumencial groups. However do we really know where we are going? What are our priorities ? How are we going to acheive them ? How are we going to finance them ?

If we are to continue to function in an efficient way we need to take stock and look seriously at our future plans and construct some sort of plan for the next 5 years to guide our work.

This was discussed at the last leaders' meeting and it was decided that we should go ahead and organise two "away days" to thrash out a 5 year plan.

Who knows what it will turn up and where we will end up going ? We need to put our trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit and be led ( possibly where we don't want to go ! ) by the Lord.

The first meeting will be for the Leaders during Lent and the second in April will be for the whole exec and some invitees. At the end of the process we should God willing have a plan which can be presented to the AGM in May.

Please pray for us all as we start out on this new section of road together.