We had 105 respondents through a combination of online and paper surveys, which was a good mix of all age ranges. Some key takeaways were:
· Great range of words to describe good and bad mental wellbeing:
· Three quarters of respondents have struggled with their mental wellbeing at some point, and a third of respondents are living with someone who is or has struggled with their mental wellbeing
· Existing things highlighted as having a positive impact on wellbeing include; prayer ministry, worship, belonging to cell groups, small friendship groups, hobby groups, and connecting with the environment
· Suggestions for areas we could develop or improve on (which we will look into further as Thrive progresses) include; support groups, quiet reflective/mindfulness space, mental health awareness/education.
Currently, Thrive sees themselves as a small working party that is thinking about how we shape and promote good mental wellbeing in our church; this includes signposting to services, and utilising us as a resource to support groups. What we don’t see ourselves as, is a referral agency, or as a group dedicated to pastoral issues.
Promotion of mental wellbeing is a whole church concern and not something that is just Thrive’s responsibility, so this is something we will look to work with you on as we go into 2019. We will also continue to explore what other churches are doing in Southampton/Shirley in this area.
Do you have a heart for children and families, a vision for working in local primary schools, and a passion for Jesus?
We're looking for a new Primary schools', families and children's lead person - an 18 hour a week post.
The purpose of the post is to facilitate the work of St James' by the Park amongst families and children in our local community by focusing on work in the local KS1 and KS2 schools.
Could you be that person, or do you know someone who could be?
Click here to download the full job description.
The application form can be downloaded here. Applications should be received by 12 noon on Tuesday 4th December.
The Zimbabwean flag is one of the ones proudly on display in our church, because at least two of our church community are Zimbabwean. One of them, Shelter Kasirori, has been instrumental in setting up a monthly gathering at St James' by the Park for other Shona-speaking Christians in the region.
With 10 other branches around the country, the Zimbabwe National Anglican Fellowship (ZINAFE) encourages Christians to be an active part of their own churches as well as attending the Shona-speaking services. Arthur Chagadama from Poole explains: “Coming together to worship in our language is an experience that allows us to learn, gain strength and grow in our faith. The lasting friendships provide us with strength and a sense of belonging. We can laugh together, and support one another through life's struggles.”
Most services are led by Zimbabwean clergy working in the Church of England. One of them, Father Lamech, reflected on why ZINAFE was started. “Because we were scared of our people losing their faith in this country."
For Shelter, not having to travel to Bristol for these services saves time and money. “Meeting here will be a boost to my fellowship and growth in my faith. The Shona services will strive for our young generation not to lose their culture when it comes to worship and belonging.” She adds: “Thumbs up to my family (my cell group) for their prayers and support.”
“Zimbabwe is always in the news for wrong reasons,” says Arthur. “The state of our nation is disturbing and discouraging. As a Zinafe community, we ask for prayers that we remain united, faithful, informed and thoughtful, and for God’s wisdom and righteousness to be evident in our nation’s policies and leaders.”
Shelter and others at a ZINAFE service.
“we were scared of our people losing their faith in this country.”
Here are a few ideas you could consider.
Cards: Only send them to people you won’t see. Use e-cards. For friends at church, write your Christmas greetings on coloured circles which we will use to decorate the Jacob room (more details later).
Presents: Make gifts of your time rather than things. Give an experience. Give Charity gifts on behalf of others, available locally from the Oxfam shop or online from a number of charities. Within a family, agree on token presents up to a fixed limit for adults.
Wrapping: Use recycled brown paper, coloured natural string, tags made from last year’s cards.
Trees: Buy real ones which are organic or FSC certified, or re-use the artificial one you already have. Or use a large plant, or a tree outside decorated with bird feeders. Make your own decorations, or use those which have already been pre-loved, by you or someone else. Use LED lights if possible.
“The world was made through him, and the world did not recognise him.” Let our Christmas celebrations show through our actions that we do!
There are lots more ideas available on the internet. A good place to start is the “Living Lightly” section of the A Rocha website, which contains practical environment-friendly ideas for many aspects of life including Christmas. Friends of the Earth offer a variety of suggestions with their 21 eco-friendly Christmas tips.
You might also like a blog post about Eco Friendly Christmas Trees and you could try the Forestry Commission for sustainable real Christmas trees
Although some of the ideas (and terminology) are distinctively American, How to Have an Eco-Friendly Green Christmas Holiday offers a concise set of suggestions which might inspire you.
Organisations offering Charity Gifts include Christian Aid, World Vision, and Oxfam. All have choices from under £10 to £50+ covering a wide range of areas.