However long ago it is that we left school, the beginning of September always feels like the start of a new year. People are back from their holidays and everything is getting back to normal. In church life, it’s often the start of a busy season which includes Harvest, Remembrance, Advent and Christmas. Some churches have found the “Back to Church Sunday” initiative helpful, and, though the website is a little out of date, there are some related resources at http://seasonofinvitation.co.uk/ to help churches think about how they might encourage new people to join them and then maintain contact with invited guests.
Some churches find that the long autumn term is a good time to run an enquirer’s course of some kind – the most well known one is Alpha, but there are several. Life Explored is a fairly new one, featuring a series of high quality short films (telling compelling stories) which help people think about how to find lasting happiness. There are others, too. Is your church running something like this? Maybe you have a home-grown programme? Do you have experience to share about what has been valued by participants in the past? It’s always good to share good practice!
Alongside these events, there are usually a wide variety of other things taking place in the churches for different purposes, e.g. churches in our Deanery are involved with a Beer Festival (St Andrew’s, Hertford, on 8th Sept), “Escape” Family Festival in Ware on 15th Sept, a concert at Wareside Church by James Pearson (from Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club) on 22nd September and the Walden Bible Focus conference on 29th Sept. Please advertise them in your churches, and if your churches have events that might be of interest to others in our Deanery, do share them on our site.
This year, it could be said that our Remembrance commemorations have a special significance, in that Remembrance Sunday falls on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice. Is your church doing anything different this year, and if so, what? Can we learn from each other to serve our communities more effectively with the good news of the peace we have in Christ Jesus? Check out https://www.remembrance100.co.uk/ for some ideas and information…
Finally, do spare a thought for Revd Nick Sharp as he leaves his post at Little Amwell (Hertford Heath) on Sunday and for the church family of Holy Trinity as they enter a new phase of their community life and the search for a new parish priest.