Inclusive Community Missional Group
Under the 2013 suggested structure, the responsibilities of this group are formalised as:
- Welcoming Team
- Fellowship Team
- Pastoral Team
- Hospitality Team
- Munch with a Bunch
- Bring and Share Lunch
A list of members of the Inclusive Community is available at InclusiveCommunityGroup.
A more general list of responsibilities is at SafetyInclusiveCommunityCommittee.
An Inclusive Community
(Supportive liberating relationships; Spiritually inspired living)
To see what is happening with the SeniorsMinistry, click this link.
Key Propositions for Growth
- Develop communication processes within congregation and wider community
- Extend ‘welcoming’ practices across all congregations
- Regular community activities for fun and fellowship
- Bi-monthly combined services
- Community lunches with conversation
What might GWUC look like in 2013 if we were faithful to these propositions?
GWUC is an inclusive, relational community grounded in Christ’s relationship with us. Worship, fellowship, communication and missional activities encourage deep interaction with others and provide opportunities for sharing our lives creatively. The diverse groups and individuals who gather at GWUC have formed a community which journeys through different stages of life and faith together. In an atmosphere of love and acceptance, there is always a welcoming face and a ready invitation to join in a conversation of significance.
This warm environment, together with our growing faith development program, community hub activities, relationships with our neighbours and rural partners, has brought many new faces into our community. Newcomers to worship at GWUC are greeted warmly. At the ‘Welcome’ table questions are answered and information is provided about our community activities. Each newcomer is quickly assigned a welcoming elder who introduces them to other members and follows up by phone call within the next week to discuss their needs and hopes for their connection with GWUC. Hospitality is shared and friendships are formed through regular ‘newcomers luncheons’.
People meet together in short term mentoring relationships, sharing life wisdom, experiences of faith and coffee. You find them chatting to one another in our hospitality centre and local cafes, in homes and in the diverse activities that make up community life at GWUC. Others find connection and a chance to share and grow through a variety of small group activities. People have clearly grown in understanding of each other and in confidence about sharing their life and faith experiences. As the proverb says, ‘As iron sharpens iron, so we spark each other’.
Within our community’s heartbeat and hub of activity, you will find groups that teach you to knit - and knit together – toys and blankets to go to African missions. You’ll find picnics, fishing trips, book clubs and family camps where all are welcome to participate and share. Through activities such as concerts, exhibitions, craft days, dances and fetes we have welcomed the neighbourhood into our midst. Other activities such as the long standing Easter Event, Stations of the Cross art installation and Christmas Alight have been joined by faith festivals, carols on the lawn and a community Christmas tree display - all means by which we are able to share the Christian story with our neighbours. Even though they may not yet be regular worshippers in the congregation, many of our neighbours have become familiar with our community and see GWUC as their church.
GWUC offers a variety of worship experiences to meet the needs of our diverse community. However, every two months we look forward to worshiping together. In these community services we share stories of our journey with God and our neighbours, celebrating the love and grace we find and renewing our commitment to love and serve our neighbour as Christ loves us. We celebrate our diversity by participating in many different ways; sitting in the round, using symbols, pictures and creative media to explore the message for the day. In these services everyone participates and engages in worship.
Hospitality and conversation are hallmarks of regular community lunches (often connected with a combined service). Groups wanting to share their gifts or raising funds may prepare meals, or we may share food we have brought. We particularly enjoy opportunities for sharing meals that represent the ethnic and cultural diversity of our community. Conversation always accompanies our practice of hospitality. As well as informal conversation, we use a variety of processes to encourage interaction, imagination and the sharing of wisdom as we consider questions of interest. Through these lunches we are connecting with more and more people in our community.
Monthly ‘Fellowship and Faith’ events enable us to share and hear stories of faith. Over coffee and cake we enjoy hearing from people who speak candidly of the ups and downs of their personal journey, followed by questions and conversation. Other opportunities for sharing stories are provided in services of worship and in small groups. We are developing deep understanding of others and ourselves. Many deep relationships have formed.
As a large, diverse community we have developed many ways to communicate with one another and our neighbours about our ministry, activities and life. The weekly bulletin contains details of forthcoming worship services, group activities and mission events. You can also sign up to receive emails with news and events for each day. An extensive, interactive website shares who we are and how we live out our vocation as the body of Christ in our neighbourhood. It also hosts several blogs for discussion about matters of interest. One of the most popular is a discussion site with the minister about the week’s scripture readings. In the foyer a large television screen highlights group activities and coming events. Each week a video showcases the life and mission of one of our groups. Attractive, informative brochures about the various groups and community programs are available. Our bi-monthly magazine, ‘NewView’, is full of interesting articles and pictures telling the stories of our life and faith together. In particular we enjoy the regular interviews with members of our community about their journey in life and faith.
We are also concerned to share our story beyond the doors of the church. Copies of the bulletin and NewView are shared with all who meet in our building – and often include stories of their activities. NewView is distributed in the local neighbourhood and every member of the congregation takes an extra copy to share with their neighbours. Community events are advertised and shared via the local papers and community bulletin boards. We make good use of the generosity of local real estate agents in providing advertising boards for significant events. And every member of the community offers particular invitations to at least one friend or neighbour to share in each community event.
Through organisational tasks, small groups, fellowship activities and missional endeavours in our neighbourhood the GWUC community is enjoying strong, deep relationships with one another, our neighbours and Jesus Christ.