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Community Engagement – “Play Your Part” through your Faith and Church

 

Issue

church 1 church 2 diocese of blackburn

Jane Austen in Mansfield Park wrote “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings”

The Reverend Simon Glynn at All Saints and Parbold parish in Lancashire wanted his parishioners to not experience their lives like this.

He said he was observing from conversations with many living in the parish that time for family, relationships, community, God and oneself was disappearing under the pressure of increasing work. Accompanying this were increased levels of stress, worry, anxiety and a feeling of losing touch with what is important and how God can help. Simon wanted to try and offer something through the Church to those in the parish who were feeling somewhat squeezed by the daily routine.  He said “Parbold and Appley Bridge are affluent areas, and pretty well everyone there regularly finds themselves just too busy. I just began to believe that this was something people needed to think about”

Solution

In partnership with Helen Wakefield at Windmills a six week programme was put together entitled “My Life in Focus” and ran in the early summer, an evening a week for a couple of hours.

This type of support had been explored previously by Windmills when they developed a resource entitled “Play Your Part – A Windmills Guide to finding and fulfilling your God-given role in life” – click here to find out more.
A mix of prayer, Windmills activity, discussion, reflection and of course refreshments provided the basis for each of the evening sessions which ran as follows:

Week One – Time – using the Windmills approach to Working/Learning/Playing and Giving – WLPG (click here to find out more)

Week Two – Roles – using No Regrets on Sunday (click here to find out more) to explore the roles that are most important to me

Week Three – Skills – using the Skills Cards Sort (click here to find out more) to identify Prime skills and Burnout skills

Week Four – Purpose – using the values cards (click here to find out more) from STAR (click here to find out more) to identify what matters to me

Week Five – Vision – using the Golden Ticket to develop a vision for the future

Week Six – Support – using the bench activity from No Regrets – who do I need support from and who can I support

25 people attended the programme every week.  “We wanted to give people time to reflect on what they are doing with their lives,” said Revd Glynn. “There were one or two of the members who had been with young children for a long time and felt as though a little of themselves had been sucked out by the challenges of a change of role like this.”

Impact

Below are some of the comments made by those attending:

I feel that God has answered my prayers by finding this course and empowering and inspiring me to find a purpose in my life that has been so empty for so long.

An excellent food for thought – will miss Monday nights. It’s so important to take time out to reflect and this allowed for it.

Really useful. Makes you think about your future and where you want to be. Also makes you realise how much you’ve got to give and the people who give to you!

Can’t thankyou you enough for making me think once again what is important in my life and how to move forward

Fantastic. Inspirational. Motivational. Exceptional.

A great reflective experience. Making people realise potential purpose and one’s ability to make a change and a difference to our lives to get the best experience

Simon commented that many had of those attending had been given the chance to stop for a short while and ask themselves what life was all about. The comments above provide testimony to the benefits many of them felt they gained as a result.