St Francis Church – 2010 to the present
a committed 2% can change a community. Imagine what 2% or 3% or even 4% could do?
As we look around us on a Sunday morning we see 40 or so adults in our congregation, a quarter of us under 16. The Dalgarno Estates have 4000 people. Jesus speaks of leaving 99 sheep on a hillside in search of the one that is lost. There are 40 of us. That’s 1% of the Estates. We are the ‘one sheep’ waiting for the ninety nine. What a journey we, as one percent of this neighbourhood, have been on so far.
Since 2010 we have had our 75th anniversary celebration as a church, held the Good Neighbour awards, hosted London’s first Eden team which engaged with hard to reach youth, started a music and play toddler group and a writers group. We are one of ten projects across the UK to be trusted with £100,000 which we have invested into a Children and Families minister. People have found support at St Francis through hard times, been baptised, confirmed and celebrated 80th birthdays. Choral choirs, an Alpha course and E.V.E (Every Voice Empowered) women’s ministry have all begun at St Francis.
Our Sunday service includes a high level of involvement from the laity so that all in the community can be trained and equipped to take part. We have been involved in community pantomimes, taken children to art galleries, ice skating and to museums. We have renovated the church building, visited schools and created leadership teams.
This is St Francis. We are all Ministers of this wonderful ragtag, rough tough band of the bruised and battered. At least two of us have survived comas, others have broken addiction instead of it breaking them. Some of us have battled cancer, walked miles for the dispossessed and stepped away from gangs. Others have suffered the isolation of prejudice and discrimination and gone through court appeals.
Yet with all the heartbreak and recent stormy seas, St Francis has arisen. Robert Bellah, a sociologist, has said ‘a committed 2% can change a community.’ Imagine what 2%, 3% or even 4% could do?
Some aspirations for St Francis Church
- We want to be a community of communities: a people on a spectrum of positive engagement with their St Francis community as well as the other communities around them. We want St Francis Church to make a difference to people’s lives on all levels. Strength of community leads to strength of voice.
- We want the church to be a place where the horror of loneliness is addressed and the rich texture of friendship is offered to the marginalised. We want people, at whatever age and stage, those of non English birth or background, families with basic education, as well as those in a higher socio-economic bracket to learn with and from each other.
- We want to partner with others in bringing social justice locally and across society. We want to create faith-filled followers of Christ.