'Annual Vision Talk 2019' by Owen Lynch - January 20th 2019

Looking back with thankfulness and forward with anticipation, this talk shows what happened with Severn Vineyard in 2018 and what our aims are for 2019.

Talk with slides:

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Severn Vineyard aims to be a church of community groups and trained 35 group leaders in 2018. In addition to open house groups and course groups, young adults had social events and weekends away, and Metal Church ran a monthly heavy metal worship event in the Powerhouse.

Community group is a place where I am fed weekly, both spiritually and through hearty group meals. Within the busyness of the working week, I can come together with my community group family to support, encourage and connect in life and faith. We serve, discuss, laugh, cry, pray, share and grow together in the free and relaxing environment of a home. We also lend and share in practical ways (babysitting, lifts, borrowing tents, tools etc.) and serve the wider community. As a newcomer to Bristol, community group has been key to my sense of community and belonging at Severn.
— A community group participant

The church also strengthened pastoral support for people not in groups and added support for Sunday service volunteer leaders.

The Severn Up (years 7-9) group went to Vineyard's national youth conference and Youth@Severn (years 10-13) went to Soul Survivor and a weekend away. Youth were also involved with Hope Bristol, and several made commitments to Jesus this year.

The student community ran a Life course to help people explore faith, and some joined Street Angels in Magaluf to provide comfort and support for clubbers who were worse for wear!

Prayer in the church has included weekly Monday meetings, pre-service Sunday prayer and 24/7 prayer during Hope Bristol and through November and December. "Essence" was also launched - an evening of uninterrupted worship and prayer which filled the Powerhouse to capacity.

We are a creative community, including visual arts, music, and the spoken and written word. Severn's branding was reworked in 2018, and prophecy has been expressed through words and art.

Work with vulnerable and marginalised groups in Bristol has included community art in Kingswood, worship and prayer at Southmead Hospital chapel, a Life Recovery Group, the soup run for the homeless, DIYSOS projects for people who needed them, a Storehouse of baby clothes and equipment which has helped hundred of families, and support for Bridges For Communities, a charity supporting asylum seekers and refugees in Bristol.

November's Sunday services focused on what people can do collectively and individually to serve the most vulnerable in society, and £4,500 was raised for eight local causes. 15% of the church's unrestricted income was also set aside for community services.

It’s been another amazing year on our journey with God and with one another, we can be satisfied and content that we have together partnered with Jesus to contribute to the spiritual, social and cultural well-being and renewal of our communities.
— Owen Lynch

The church's income was the highest since it began, and the building fund is, from one year of giving, over half way towards the three year total pledged.

But 2018 was expected to be a bumpy ride in many ways. More people than usual moved away, and fewer than usual joined, leading to Severn's first annual drop in numbers. This has been seen before with other churches seeking to settle into a permanent venue before this is achieved.

However, in 2019 the aim and expectation is to grow. There are three goals to help make this happen.

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Opening the front doors wider means improving our visibility and welcome, introducing people who want to know more about Jesus using a termly Alpha type course, and learning from others who grow churches.

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The new community services we will launch in South Bristol are a CAP (Christians Against Poverty) debt management centre, a food bank and a Life-skills Training course.

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Bringing health to our souls will lead us to consider our Spiritual Formation, Identity and Authority, and Signs and Wonders. Soul care programmes we are getting involved with include "Faith-walking" and "Immanuel prayer". They help in strenghthening our identity as Jesus' disciples, stepping into authority from him and, from that, mission and the wonders which show the Kingdom of God in everything we do.

Gift day

We will hold a gift day on Sunday 3rd February and have a goal for some increased monthly giving and one-off donations.

Would you consider starting a regular monthly donation to Severn, or if you already give a monthly donation, would you prayerfully consider increasing the amount you give each month?

Would you consider making a one off donation at this time in response to this vision?