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Being a blessing to church, world and kingdom: An update on the St Martin’s Action Plan

News St Martin – Talking Points

Wednesday 19 March 2014

At its meeting on 18 March the PCC passed unanimously the 2014-17 St Martin-in-the-Fields Action Plan. Mission Action Plans have been requested of each parish in the diocese for many years. The most recent St Martin’s Plan expired in 2013.

  • It is a rolling plan which will be updated regularly
  • It covers the whole organisation and not just the congregation

A wide range of opinions were invited for ideas for the plan and 72 suggestions were taken to a joint PCC/SMITFL board meeting in January. These were reduced to the 18 that form the plan agreed on 18 March. The remaining 54, along with other proposals that will continue to surface, have not ‘gone away’; they mostly need more work or need to be owned more widely or understood more broadly – and there will be time for that in the next few years. The 18 that were advanced in January were worked up into detailed proposals, including outcomes, indicators, resources, and evaluators.  A brief overview is available below, and a pamphlet identifying the key themes will be distributed at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting on 6 April.

St Martin’s Action Plan Summary

I want especially to thank the Steering Group for guiding this process on schedule and with remarkable degrees of consensus.

I want here briefly to highlight some of the significance of the plan. (I will say more at the Annual Meeting on 6 April.) The plan recognises three things

  1. That we want to continue to do, and indeed to expand, what we already do adequately or well. There is no intention radically to change the character or activities of St Martin’s. The language is of deepening and broadening. Where changes are envisaged, they are designed to increase the depth or broaden the reach of the things we think are most important. If there is a change of culture, it is to make St Martin’s more one organisation, rather than to keep its working parts in separate silos. I am convinced that the soul of St Martin’s lies in being more than the sum of its parts – and for our soul to flourish means our parts working increasingly in harmony (and sometimes creative tension) together.
  2. That we don’t exist simply for ourselves, but have gifts to bring to and things to learn from the wider church and kingdom. We have over the last few generations consistently spawned dynamic social movements that have in many cases moved far beyond our imagination or oversight. It is important we continue to fulfil this vocation.
  3. That a great part of the significance of our life together lies not so much in what we do but how we do it. The kinds of things we encounter every day – mixing church, charity, commercial and cultural temperaments, standing for love and justice, seeking to be faithful to our tradition but alert to ways our tradition has excluded some and inhibited many – are things the wider church and wider society all struggle with. If we have had some success, we are obliged to make our internal workings a blessing to others as much as we are keen to share our convictions.

Of course nothing is achieved by a plan. But time spent planning is never wasted. A plan includes a range of people in compiling a vision, tests if that vision is plausible and seaworthy, and makes us publicly accountable for our commitments. We now have a plan: let the work begin.

Sam Wells, Vicar

A session on the proposed changes to deepen and broaden the pattern of worship resulting from the Action Plan will be held after the 10.00am service on Sunday 4 May.