New Song Network is a Church!
On Monday 24th February 2014 the Fresh Expression called New Song Network became a church; a cause for much celebration.
What does this mean?
New Song Network began with Café and some outreach work 5 years ago. In those 5 years so much has happened and the story can be read on the About Us page or you can download a more detailed pdf file here.
As NS has grown it has kept its uniqueness as a Fresh Expression (FX) but has been doing the things that a church does (or should be doing). But as a FX it has not had the standing of a church in, for example, having a voice at the Circuit Meeting or people being able to become members of NSN. Following the writing of a profile and 5 year plan for the circuit one year ago gradually the direction that God was guiding NS became clear.
A meeting with the Rev Steve Lindridge (FX Connexional Missioner for the Methodist Church) gave valuable advice and support and the decision to apply to become a church was taken. The paper that was presented to the circuit meeting is available for download as a pdf file here.
The resolution was put by the Senior Circuit Steward, Eric Andrews, and at the district Synod the Chair of District, Rev Jim Booth, received it 'as a matter of report and celebration'.
The official opening service commissioning the church and Rev Jackie Bellfield as its minister took place on June 22nd and at the 2014 Methodist Conference congratulations were sent to NSN. More information about these events are to be found elsewhere on the website.
What happens now?
One thing to make very clear is that NSN is not going to change what it does and how it does things - apart from getting better, of course! - just because it is now a church. It will continue to offer a range of worship, Bible study and other groups, community action, being involved in major events, the amazing Hot Drinks Ministry and social activities under the encompassing umbrella of showing the love of God not just in words but in actions and in the way of life of those involved.
So what will change?
You will now be able to become a member of NSN: perhaps to be confirmed into the Church of Christ for the first time or by transfer. You will also be able to have associate membership of NSN with either a fellowship in another Christian community (another denomination) or, and this is a fairly new option, dual membership with another Methodist Church. Many of the people who attend NSN say how much worshipping at NS helps them with the work they do in their local, more traditional church.
You can become a worship leader in NSN.
There will be opportunities to be involved in decision-making at NS and in the circuit.
One particular area we wish to develop soon at NS is in the pastoral care that is offered including people who will be available at the end of NSC to pray with others.