Annual Report 2019 of Heaton Mersey Methodist Church
Registered charities are required to produce an annual report which is submitted to the Charity Commission, which incorporates the Financial Statement for the year but also states the aims of the charity and assesses its achievements during the past year. Methodist Churches are exempted from registration and the requirement to submit an annual report except for ‘The Methodist Church Standard Form of Accounts’. However, the Charity Commission can, at any time, ask to see this report.
Heaton Mersey Methodist Church
Superintendent: Revd Cathy Bird
Minister: Revd Raj Bharath Patta
Church Development Worker: Tracy Brennan
Managing Trustees: Church Council
Aims and Organisation
Statement of the aims of the Church - see Mission Statement
The Church organises itself to carry out its stated aims and objectives by:
Budgeting funds to pay the circuit sharing, running costs, minor maintenance work and the work of the Church Development Worker, without having to resort to using reserves where ever possible or fundraising. We have a pro-active Leadership Team that enthusiastically faces the challenges of being a missional church and which earnestly seeks to fulfil its aims and objectives; as agreed by the Church Council.
Review of Progress and Achievements
The three principal aims have been - Our faith in Christ, our attitude to Mission, and the way we do church.
Christology (Christ centred)
Our congregation comprises a variety of ages and denominational backgrounds. We therefore aim to develop a variety of styles of worship; including teaching, testimony (story telling) services and Cafe Church (which we now plan monthly), to complement our more traditional Sunday worship services. We actively encourage ‘church family’ participation wherever possible, whilst striving to make our services accessible to the unchurched.
The Church also encourages Church Members and those who do not have strong links to Church to join in Lite/House Church, which is a time of relaxed Fellowship/ Bible Study. This regularly attracts a mixture of regular church members and others.
As a church we’re involved in ongoing discussions about the nature of the Circuit and our relationship with it, and the rest of the Connexion; aided by Rod Hill. These discussions and their potential implications remain ongoing.
Missiology (Our faith shapes our Mission)
HMMC continues to benefit from the input and involvement of our Church Development worker, who contributes to church life in a variety of ways beyond the ‘simple’ running of outreach or community engagement activities. Working closely with HMMC’s minister and leadership team, she not only encourages fresh thinking for existing practices and groups but regularly relates this work to the wider congregation, seeking to continue to build on and develop connections between the various church-run groups and the regular Sunday service members/attendees.
The church continues to reach the men within our community by running a monthly session for fathers and their pre-school children called Who Let The Dads Out? The group is constantly changing, averaging 10-15 dads and their children each session, often attracting new dads to join the existing regulars. Discussions continue as towards how to best maintain these links as younger children ‘age out’ of the current WLTDO? target age range, and as to how these relationships might be developed.
Once-a-month, we run FamilyChurch@10, which caters specifically to families with young children and takes place separately from the ‘main Sunday service’ – though some of the families do attend other events, services and activities throughout the year the separate arrangement has been appreciated by some families who feel more comfortable in this ‘less-formal’ setting. Alongside FamilyChurch@10, our regular Sunday Club provides an offering for younger attendees (and their parents if they wish to accompany them), during the rest of the month (excluding during the monthly café church service). This group regularly caters to a good number of children, and some of their parents, who join the congregation towards the end of the service enabling feedback and helping to develop connections and relationships between the regular attendees of the main Sunday service and the younger people and families that now regularly meet and worship at HMMC.
The link with local schools continues through our support of the new Heaton’s Schools Worker, whom our Church Development Worker regularly liaises and works with, both in the local schools and on related projects.
The ‘Regenerate’ group, started with the ‘young adults’ at HMMC, now meets roughly once every six weeks and is attended by a number of the ‘young adults’ from congregations across the Circuit. The group provides an opportunity for the ‘young adults’ of the Circuit to meet, support each other, develop and deepen friendships and regularly involves some form of discussion or consideration of matters pertaining to the spiritual life of themselves, and the churches/Circuit.
Whist the possibility of running a ‘Start’ course was discussed last year, it has not yet materialised, due to low interest at the time. However, the organisation of a ‘Start’ (or similar) course remain possibilities under consideration and discussion.
Ecclesiology (Our Mission shapes our Church)
At Circuit level, we have recently gained from this year’s stationing process, and we now benefit from the time and input of a fulltime superintendent minister – Rev. Cathy Bird. Locally Rev. Raj Bharath Patta continues to serve as minister for Heaton Mersey and St. John’s Methodist Churches, and Edgeley Methodist/URC.
Tracy Brennan continues to in the role of Church Development Worker. This work is financed through the generous giving of the congregation.
Cafe Church has once again been an important feature of our church year, maintaining its monthly, fixed slot. They are always well attended, attracting new visitors and those on the ‘fringe’ of church.
As with last year, HMMC did not undertake to run a Summer ‘holiday club’ this year, instead spreading our resources more widely throughout the year; including running events at Easter, Harvest, Christmas, and at various other points throughout the year.
Through the local Circuit we joined together for an Easter Pilgrimage around the Stockport Circuit.
A bi-monthly Prayer Breakfast run through the Heatons’ Churches Partnership continues to attract some from different churches in the Heatons.
The work of the Heatons’ Primary Schools Worker, funded by the churches, now stretches into 10 Primary Schools in the Heatons and Priestnall; our local Secondary School.
In addition to our more ‘family oriented’ initiatives, we continued to work with several local churches to host a series of ‘Holiday at Home’ events and outings. Aimed at older people within the local community, these events and outings provide an essential link to an often-overlooked section of our society and have been very well attended and enjoyed.