Our commitment to worship -
We enjoy a wealth of different lay-led and clergy styles and traditions of worship that are inspiring and allow people to connect with God:
- BCP Holy Communion and Evensong
- Common Worship Holy Communion
- Lay-led Worship (contemporary, reflective, family)
- Methodist-led services (in LEP at Stockton)
- Messy Church
- The Gathering on 5th Sundays
The major festivals and other seasonal services are popular and attract families and larger proportions of our communities, including the Advent and Epiphany family services, Christingle services, the Crib service, Carol services (involving the Young Farmers and Women’s Institute), the Easter Carol service, Mothering Sunday, Harvest, Remembrance Day and Bereavement services.
Rural spirituality has a unique character, closely connected to the seasons and the land. We try to use different occasions to encourage people to experience different styles of spirituality. We have recently introduced Celtic Church.
Part of being a welcoming and inclusive church is the importance of the occasional offices. These are valuable for building relationships across the generations. They are generally well attended and are an important opportunity to share the Gospel.
Music is varied, from traditional to contemporary, from organs to a small worship group.
Our commitment to growing as disciples -
We have a range of activities that help us grow closer to God, to build stronger relationships with each other and help us to be accountable to God and one another:
- network of home groups that have mostly grown out of Alpha courses
- encouragement of personal prayer, village-based prayer groups, a team who lead intercessions in services, and participation in “Thy Kingdom Come” prayer initiatives
- special Lent and Advent courses and quiet days
- formal and informal links with other local churches – Stockton is an Anglican / Methodist LEP, and within the wider deanery
- Alpha courses
- deanery discipleship courses
- attendance at national Christian gatherings such as New Wine, Spring Harvest and Rural Ministries
Home groups are recognised as valuable, safe spaces for sharing, being held accountable, building relationships and offering an opportunity to pray for each other and to study the bible in more depth together.
Active work with children and young people includes Messy Church, clubs (still to be re-established post- Covid) and in schools through assemblies, Open the Book, Godly Play and festivals/end of year services in church with families.
Our commitment to transforming the communities in which we live -
This is all about building relationships, offering hospitality and being generous. We are increasingly engaging with our local communities outside the church walls, helping to create a loving, caring society where all are valued and included.
Social activities (that often help to raise funds) include monthly lunches, afternoon teas, morning coffees, concerts, literary events, Christmas Tree festivals, flower festivals, Christmas and summer fairs, craft sales, plant sales, Knit & Natter groups, children’s holiday clubs and pancake parties.
Our Create & Play and Napton Baby & Toddler groups provide invaluable support and encouragement for parents, carers and grandparents.
Our parishes regularly give gifts, including Messy Church bags, at Christmas, Easter, Mothering Sunday, baptisms and weddings. We support several charities – both financially and as volunteers, including the Carriers of Hope (who work with refugees in Coventry), the local Fosse Foodbank and Embrace the Middle East (following a visit with the charity to the Holy Land by one of our home groups several years ago). Individuals are also involved with many other charities, especially those which support farming communities such as the Addington Fund and the Farming Community Network.
Many members of the church family support and are involved in village organisations, schools, local businesses and personal networks. .
We offer marriage and baptism preparation classes to encourage healthy marriages and family life.
We take part in the evangelistic events planned and organised by the Deanery Mission Team, such as concerts with nationally-acclaimed Christian performers, Massive Messy Church and afternoon tea parties hosted by the clergy as a thank-you to all the laity involved in local church life.