Today is October 21st, and if you didn’t know already it’s the date that Marty McFly visited when he traveled to the future in Back to the Future part 2. Chris has the box set out and is working away with the films running in the background.
I can’t believe that it’s been 30 years since the first film came out, it feels like yesterday. I think if I could change anything about the past I’d walk into the future with bigger and grander visions. Most of the things I envisioned over the years came to pass. When I trained as a cook I wanted to work for a famous restaurant and eventually worked as a Cook in Miltons Restaurant in New Bond Street, London. When I began working in electronics I decided that i wanted to be a qualified engineer and became one of NCR’s senior Engineers working in London. Oddly I didn’t want to be a pastor, but when I started down the path I had a vision for the kind of church where Christ was so integral to the life of the community that the people around us were always more important than anything we chose to believe. And in that light I have been privileged to pastor a church that created a vision that was so inspired that it became a hook in the future drawing everyone to it – and it came to pass.
At the recent Village MCC one day retreat we took a journey together which culminated in the drawing together of a vision. We looked forward to five years from now and The Village MCC is at the core of an exchange based community hub, a fully integrated LGBT* community resource in the heart of Kemptown.
We have a cafe, with a well equipped kitchen, adjacent to a multi-use space that hosts worship every Sunday. Both spaces are used by various voluntary groups for meetings and events throughout the week. (There are , folding window-doors between the two spaces with privacy blinds available for closed group meetings. The cafe and meeting space can be combined for large events). There is a small room used for general office and filing needs. Parking is available and there is a remunerated building services manager.
The building has first rate audio and media equipment that facilitates both excellent worship and a variety of group needs. It is a safe space staffed by well trained volunteers. We offer free wi-fi access. All facilities are non gender specific. The building is fully accessible.
We have a full time pastor who is remunerated a full time salary. The pastor oversees all aspects of The Village MCC’s spiritual life and support processes, and liaises with local businesses and groups who contribute to the larger community through us.
The Sunday service has both a music/worship group and a choir. Average Sunday worship attendance fluctuates between 50 and 80. We have a strong Spirit led board that does a great job fund raising and grant writing. We budget realistically so that our annual income exceeds budget with expenditure under budget.
We have a well trained and grounded pastoral team who, with the Pastor, are responsible for spiritual life of the church. There is also a hospitality team that ensures that everyone in the area that wants to come to church or access our services is able to do so, and that those we serve feel welcome and valued. All volunteers are well supported and opportunities to volunteer are always available.
We run our own excellent training and spirituality courses, as well as facilitate a broad spectrum of affinity groups. We hold an annual weekend retreat, ( in a rural setting), and an annual one day leadership retreat, which are both always well attended.
– It’s a grand vision, a vision which came out of the hearts and minds of everyone who shared in the process. I believe that it is a work of the Holy Spirit and is our cumulative vision, The Village MCC and God. It is an expression of our core values and mission statement, reaching towards our greater vision of a world free from discrimination.
Over the months to come you will see parts of this vision calling us, and when you do please let the board or I know. Our dance with God’s Spirit lies before us, and all we need to do is allow God to lead and follow the steps. It’s an exciting and wonderful journey, one I hope that you’ll take as a part of The Village MCC.
*as well as anyone disenfranchised because of sexuality or gender expression.