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Dear friend,

Welcome to the July newsletter from St Peter's Church, and apologies that it is so late. In this newsletter you'll see the dates and times of our services this month, and details about what else we're up to as a church family.
Hi Everyone

I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently. Lots of change has been happening in family life and in church life. Some of it has been easy, some of it has been challenging, but all of it has been necessary. Change is inevitable. In fact, change is fundamental to growth and is necessary in all areas of life to ensure our survival.

Think for a moment about the changes you’ve been though in life.

Throughout our lives we change and adapt in all sorts of ways. Some of those changes are easy and we barely notice them. Other changes are painful while we go through them. As a child, I had terrible growing pains and I would wake up crying most nights. That pain seemed to go on forever. It was awful while I was going through it but without it my bones wouldn’t have developed in the way that they should have done and no doubt, other problems would have arisen as a result.

The same is true with church. The church has a mandate to grow. A mandate which has been there since the church’s inception. It is part of our DNA. We’re called to preach the gospel afresh to each generation and that means that we need to continually adapt to our ever-changing environment. Our traditions, whether ancient or more modern, are precious to us because they link to our memories and to significant moments in life and faith. It can be painful turning a new page and beginning a new chapter because it means letting go of some things that we would rather hold on to.

In the gospels, Jesus continually challenged his followers to let go or to hold lightly to the things that we treasure in order to take hold of a much greater prize - the kingdom of God.

So, as we go through a few growing pains together let’s keep our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus trusting in his good plans for us.

With love

Early morning light strea,ing through the stained glass behind the high alter

Worship Review

As I explained in the previous newsletter, the worship review is now complete, and a pattern of regular worship has been decided upon. It was not an easy decision but, given your responses, I believe it is the right decision for us at this time. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be further tweaks and changes as we go along but I think we have a pattern that will work for us in this season.

The overwhelming response from the review was that as a church we want to be together rather than returning to the pattern of two separate services each week. In terms of worshipping preferences, approximately half the church had no preference as to the style of the service and preferences towards traditional worship or contemporary worship were split roughly at a quarter each (preferences for contemporary worship were slightly higher than traditional worship).

In addition to these numbers, I looked at current provision. Those who prefer traditional worship currently have a midweek communion service in a style that works for them plus a Sunday service every other week. The majority of those who expressed a preference for traditional worship either already attend midweek communion or could access it if they choose. Those who expressed a preference for contemporary worship currently have a service every other week in a style that largely works for them (although the service needs a few improvements) but no other provision.

Finally, I looked at attendance and growth. Both Sunday services have a faithful congregation although it is clear that the traditional service is seeing some decline in attendance. In contrast, the contemporary service is seeing some signs of growth as we are beginning to see new people join us and express a preference for more lively and slightly more informal worship.

Taking all of this into account, the most sensible way forwards seems to be to move to one Sunday service per week which is in a more contemporary style and preserving the midweek service as it is in the more contemporary style. As the midweek communion service does not include any sung worship I have decided to create an additional early service once a month to create a space where those who would prefer to worship with traditional hymns can continue to access worship in a style that works for them. Hopefully, this small concession will enable us to continue to hold together as one congregation whilst ensuring that everyone’s worshipping needs are met. To facilitate this new pattern, the main service each week will be 30 mins later, starting at 10:30am to enable us to have a monthly traditional service at 9am on the first Sunday of the month.

The new pattern is as follows:

First Sunday:
  • Traditional worship: 9am
  • Contemporary worship: 10:30am
Second – Fifth Sunday:
  • Contemporary worship: 10:30am
A Bible and a coffee cup

Home groups

I’m hoping to restart home groups in September. All home groups will be following the same pattern and studying the same study materials. The idea is that we grow together in faith and fellowship whilst allowing space for each group to develop their own unique identity. Some groups my choose to spend longer on discussion, others on worship, others on prayer and others on fellowship.

Each group will be free to dictate the style of the meeting, the only thing I will ask of each group is that they use the materials provided. Breaks will built into the program to make space socials or weeks off without missing any of the content.

I will have a list up at the back of church for people to sign up. What I need is a list of people who would like to be part of a home group, a list of people who would be happy to host a home group at their home and a list of people who would be happy to facilitate a home group using the materials provided (minimal preparation each week will be required for those facilitating groups).

Once I have got an idea of how many want to be involved, I will let you know a bit more about the groups, and where and when they will be.
Church Wood in bloom

For your diary

We hope that you can join us each Sunday in church for our 10:30AM contemporary service (with an additional 9AM traditional service on the first Sunday of the month), with the Revd Jess.

Some of our less mobile members find it difficult to get to church on their own. If anyone can help with offers of lifts, or if you would like a lift, please let Jess, Leif or Wendy know and they will do their best to coordinate.

Details for all of these events and services are available on our website.
  • Wednesday 13th July
    • 10am: Midweek Communion
    • 11am: Meet and Eat
  • Thursday 14th July - 1pm: Playtime
  • Sunday 17th July - 10:30am: Contemporary Service
  • Wednesday 20th July
    • 10am: Midweek Communion
    • 11am: Meet and Eat
  • Thursday 21st July - 1pm: Playtime
  • Sunday 24th July - 10:30am: Contemporary Service
  • Wednesday 27th July
    • 10am: Midweek Communion
    • 11am: Meet and Eat
  • Sunday 31st July - 10:30am: Contemporary Service
Prayer Ministry Team members will be available every Sunday to pray with anyone should the need arise. If you aren't in church for the Sunday service but would like prayer, please contact us - the Holy Spirit can cope with a telephone call. Please don't worry or suffer alone.

Prayer for July

Creator God
who breathed this world into being,
who is discernible within
the harmony of nature,
the perfection of a butterfly's wing,
the grandeur of a mountain range,
the soaring eagle and humming bird,
thank you for this world
which you have created.
Thank you for summer sun,
which reminds us
that your creative breath
is still alive and active.
Thank you for the warmth of your love,
sustaining this world,


And finally

If you need support in any way - prayer, or practical help - please contact us on our special email address:

We hope you enjoyed this newsletter. If you have suggestions for things we can put in it please do get in touch.
Thanks for reading. God bless you all.

St Peter's Church, Birstall
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