The St John’s Centre has served us well over many years, but is now more of a hindrance than a help to us. The toilet and kitchen facilities are in a poor state of repair, and the basement does flood on occasion. At our September Church Council meeting, we unanimously agreed to sell the site.
Why sell St John’s?
The decision is partly pragmatic – we only use the building a few hours each week for our own activities; much of the time, it is empty.
The decision is also strategic - when a church was originally built on the site in 1911, it served the new housing in the area. These days there are other churches in the vicinity (including St Mark’s on Archers Road and St James Road Methodist Church) – and we’re not out to compete with them! Our own St James' by the Park (which is in a better location) is only half a mile down the road, and many people are willing to travel much further than that to church these days.
The decision is also financial – all our buildings need work doing to bring them up to modern standards, but we cannot afford to do that work on all the buildings. St John’s is the building that is least used and most saleable.
What about the current users?
We only have two of our own groups who use the building regularly – The Ark and Pray n Play. We will probably relocate both of those groups to St James' by the Park. We will work with the other current users to try to help them find suitable alternative accommodation before the sale goes through.
What will it be used for once it’s sold?
That depends who buys it! If a developer buys it, it is likely to be turned into housing. But the building could be sold as it is, if another church or community organisation want to buy it (and some are already interested). Under charity law, we are obliged to get as good a price as possible when we sell it.
How long will it take to sell?
Selling a house typically takes many months. Selling a building like St John’s will take considerably longer – we will need to liaise with church authorities, city planners, solicitors, the Charity Commission and estate agents. How long is a piece of string?!
Tell us your St John’s memories!
For some people, selling St John’s isn’t pragmatic or financial – it’s deeply personal and emotional. We have tried to tell individuals who have the deepest personal connections to St John’s before announcing this news publicly. Before any sale goes ahead, we will have a final thanksgiving service at St John’s to give it a good send off!
We’d love to hear some of your memories of St John’s – and if you’d like to help compile those into a history / memories book – do let us know!
If you weren't able to make our Annual meeting on 23rd April, here's the highlights:
1. We elected Jayne Crispin and Sheree Drury to our Parish Church Council.
2. Dan launched our collective mission priorities. You can watch him talk about them below, and download the booklet which explains more, or pick up a copy on Sunday.
3. Our treasurer gave a report on the finances from 2017, encouraging us to think hard about how we change our income and spending in the coming years.
Hey church family,
So we had another PCC meeting last Monday, only 3 weeks after our away day. It didn’t feel like very long at all since our day out, but in some ways this was a good thing, because we spent quite a bit of the meeting running through our proposals so far on our new mission focuses. Please be assured that we are spending quite a chunk of our time and prayers working through the detail of this to make sure it’s right for us moving forward.
For anyone involved in a leadership capacity at church you will have received an invite from Dan to join us in the next Leaders evening, this Sunday 25 March at 7.30pm. We will be starting the process of sharing our thoughts on mission priorities during this evening, so I would really encourage you to join us if you are free. We would love to hear your thoughts.
The short time we had left in the rest of our meeting we whipped through some quick updates on buildings and safeguarding. A big shout out goes to Chris Lockwood who has done a sterling job during our pre-planning application to do as much work as he can to negotiate prices down - saving us considerable amounts of money so far!
We concluded our meeting with a quick retrospective of how the meeting went, and a hotly debated topic was 'when do we want our meetings to finish?'! As you can imagine, with a packed agenda and lots of opinions and debate we do often find ourselves running over time quite a bit! In case you're wondering, the verdict was 9.45pm!
Helen Bathard writes …
I didn't get a chance to write a blog in December with wrapping things up at work and Christmas, but I hope you all had a peaceful and joyful time and enjoyed one or more of the Christmas services we had here at St James' by the Park.
To start our PCC meetings off, we have been taking it in turns to give our testimonies, but we've all taken our turn, so we're now looking into a short bible study. We like to spend a bit of time reading God's word, and in prayer before we get down to business!
Our first order of business was to run through a quick review of how things have been since we changed our service pattern. This not only affected our congregation but also the many people that support our services. Without them, we simply wouldn't be able to run our 2 services every Sunday. If you don't yet support one of the many activities at church and you'd like to, there are many ways you can get involved. We'd love to hear from you no matter what your gift is! Take a read of 2 Corinthians 9 v7-8.
Next, we discussed all the research that has been done to date about our mission priorities. This involved surveys and also talking to people in our local community, other churches and local government. We are really trying to get a well rounded view about what we should be focusing on. We will be spending more time looking at this and praying about it before any decisions are made.
We had a quick update from Chris on our buildings project. We need to put an access document together as part of the pre-planning application, so we approved that next step.
The PCC have an away day coming up in February in Brockenhurst. Being new to the PCC this will be my first one of these so I don't really know what to expect, but will be nice to spend more time getting to know each other as a group and more time focusing on business.
So this month's PCC was my turn to start us off with a bible reading and prayer. I cheated and took inspiration from the sermon on Sunday from Isaiah 40, particularly 29-31. I was particularly inspired by this in the context of mental wellbeing as an area where more support is needed, and with it being remembrance sunday the day before, thinking of those people affected by war.
The first item on our agenda was budgets. This is unfortunately one of the boring parts of being on PCC but so so necessary. It became apparent as we were being taken through the figures that we are going to have quite a big deficit in 2018. Now this is where you come in....we need your help! Any amount large or small would make such a difference to the church and the work we do in the community, so I'd really urge you to consider if there is anything you can do.
We moved on to discuss the deanery mission action plan, we will need to create a parish mission action plan which links to the deanery one. Some of the actions for this plan will be determine by the outcome of our current mission priorities review.
The final planned meeting to look at mission priorities was on 22 November and we hope to share more with you all once we've had a chance to review all your thoughts and suggestions.
We chatted also about the continuing frustration that some of the bands and technical teams feel about Sundays mornings. We'd love the congregation (that's you!) to encourage them as much as possible at the moment as we continue to work with them to make life easier.
Last but not least, I am pleased to report that I was elected as a fully fledged PCC member....essentially I haven't had voting rights for the last 6 months! But now I do...oh the power!
That's all for now folks!