Sumner Redcliffs Anglican Church

E hoa, kia ora!

I trust this finds you keeping warm and well – I’ve currently got the fire roaring, and it is wonderfully cosy.

Now, I have some BIG news I would like to share with you!

The ‘What’

Vestry have agreed in principle with a strategic plan I have presented to them concerning strategically repositioning ourselves as a parish for future physical and spiritual growth.

There are six key parts to this plan which are detailed below. There is a lot of info, so here's the highlights:

  1. Start the process on attaining a new church in Sumner to replace Nayland St Chapel.
  2. Move the 1030am service to Sumner School Hall.
  3. Address urgent deferred maintenance.
  4. Relocate the staff offices to Nayland St Chapel.
  5. Relocate the Newtons to Sumner.
  6. Actively maintain ministry in Redcliffs via St Andrew's Church

We believe this plan will strategically position the parish for future growth.

If you'd like to know more details, read on!

We will be communicating this in print media and verbally at all services over August. There will also be additional info shared via our blog and in our service sheets as things progress.

Nga mihi,
Rev. Harry

The ‘What’ (extended)

#1: A New Church in Sumner

One key element of the strategic plan is a commitment to discerning, planning, communicating, and initiating movement on the construction of a new church in Sumner.

A working group will be formed at the next Vestry meeting and given a time frame within which they will report back with concrete options for a way forward. These will then be communicated with you via a series of ‘Conversation Evenings,’ during which your feedback and input will be sought, culminating in a Special General Meeting.

Since Vestry’s meeting earlier this week I have met with Bishop Peter and he is highly supportive of us building a new church in Sumner.

#2: Service Location Change

For those of you who worship in Sumner, you may have noticed that the 1030am service has been a little cramped as of late. While our 1030am congregation isn’t huge, the reality is that we can’t grow further with our current arrangement at Nayland St Chapel. It’s also difficult to offer hospitality in the foyer given the number of people hanging around after the service.

Which makes this news all the more exciting:

Vestry have decided to move our 1030am service to Sumner School.

In order to ease the move and reduce the burden on our volunteers some in-depth planning and preparation by myself and our staff team is going to be required prior to moving but we envisage moving there as soon as the end of August. I’ll keep you in the loop as things progress.

Our other Sunday and midweek services will remain at St Andrew’s Church and Nayland St Chapel as they currently are.

#3: Deferred Maintenance

While we intend to build a new church, the reality is that this process will take time. As such the third part of this plan is to address outstanding deferred maintenance at Nayland St Chapel in order to ensure the building is water-tight and fit for purpose.

We have inherited a wonderful spiritual legacy from those who have gone before us. We have a duty to act as good stewards of the resources we have been entrusted with by those who have gone before.

#4: Office Relocation

Another key part of this plan is to re-locate the parish offices to Nayland St Chapel. This will allow the building to be open during the day throughout the week.

We will also then simultaneously establish a City Mission collection point for the foodbank to raise good will and profile within the Sumner community.

This is in keeping with the vision Rev. Thomas Brauer shared with the parish during his tenure – of having Nayland St Chapel open during the day as a source of spiritual retreat and practical support.

#5: Newtons to Relocate

As you may be aware, the parish recently acquired a property on Nayland St, Sumner. This property has been rented out and is now vacant.

The intent is for our family to relocate in the near future to reduce the financial burden on the church due to the loss of rental income. The Vicarage would remain designated as Vicarage for the time being and will be rented out at market rate.

To be clear: Aimee and I are very appreciative and humbled by the provision of the current vicarage. Our desire to be located in Sumner is not about ‘lifestyle’ but is missional. Being located in Sumner will, we believe, enhance ministry in Sumner and I will remain actively involved at St Andrew’s, Redcliffs.

Historically the Vicar has been located in Sumner and Vestry senses that this is a natural re-orientation of resources in terms of positioning the parish for further growth.

#6: St Andrew’s Church, Redcliffs

The final element of this plan is to intentionally maintain an active ministry presence at St Andrew’s Church, Redcliffs.

St Andrew’s Church is currently used 5 days a week for a variety of church and community events and gatherings including midweek worship, Sunday worship, Mainly Music, Create and Connect, prayer meetings, and various other community events.

We will also continue to hold key parish events (i.e.: AGM) at St Andrew’s Church, Redcliffs.

The ‘Why’

Spiritual Rationale

  • Church growth matters because the mission of God matters. The mission being: to proclaim the Gospel in a contextually relevant way in our community. While God brings growth, seeking to strategically position the church for growth is a faithful way to engage in his mission to see lives transformed by Christ.

  • For the past four months I have been praying for wisdom in discerning best steps for our Parish. While praying I have had an image of a church in the form of a lighthouse shining a light over the Sumner neighbourhood. I have also sensed God’s prompting to make Nayland St the centre of Parish life. As I pray and consider our context this proposal gives me a sense of peace and assuredness as a wise and Spirit inspired way forward.

  • In seeking to grow the church and see lives transformed by Christ we should look to the examples in Scripture. Paul’s work in establishing churches was Holy Spirit led but pragmatic in nature. Paul strategically sought out opportunities to plant churches where the conditions were ripe for church growth: large urban centres, receptive Jewish communities, main trade routes, common language. Being pragmatic when it comes to positioning the Parish strategically for growth is wise, not un-spiritual.

Pragmatic Rationale

St Andrew’s is in a healthy situation, God be praised!

However, there are more growth opportunities in Sumner due, in part, to the population base (4,000) compared to Redcliffs (2,000). Other considerations include:

  • Having a daily presence in Sumner will allow us to have the building open throughout the week. This will increase the profile of the Parish and provide us an indirect missional avenue into the local community.

  • There are two schools and three pre-schools in Sumner compared to one of each in Redcliffs. Given our family’s life stage, living where there are more families in a similar life stage would be advantageous.

  • Unlike Redcliffs, Sumner has a centralised shopping precinct with lots going on. Numerous community groups and community services (i.e.: FUSE, FENZ) are also located locally within Sumner.

  • The historic connection of the Parish to All Saints should not be underestimated. Since the earthquakes the Parish has struggled to regain a sense of identity and belonging in Sumner. This plan ensures that this need is addressed.