Community Outreach Project

A VISION FOR A FUTURE THAT IS ‘FIT FOR PURPOSE’ – APRIL 2015

Whether it’s a pair of shoes, a hoover, a car or a set of golf clubs, there comes a time when things are no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and need to be renewed.  For many years the Kirk Session in Fisherwick have realised that our halls complex is no longer ‘fit for purpose’.  But what is our purpose? Why are we here on the corner of Chlorine Gardens?

That great Christian leader, the late Rev. Dr. John Stott, whose books continue to inspire so many of us, once asked the question – What are the hallmarks of a living church? His conclusion after surveying the evidence in the book of Acts, was that a living church is one where:

There is sincere and humble worship;
The bible is carefully taught and studied;
There is loving, caring fellowship; and
There is compassionate outreach to the world.

I believe that these guidelines give us a wonderful blueprint for why we are here in Fisherwick.  Of course, in many ways we are already doing this and I would like to commend all of you who contribute so much in so many ways to allow these things to happen.  However, as already stated, the Kirk Session is well aware that our halls complex is ageing and is becoming increasingly unfit for the purposes that God has called us to accomplish together.

I have witnessed at first hand, in my previous pastoral work in Arklow, how renewal of buildings can be a vehicle for the achievement of a church’s God-given purposes. The Presbyterian community there have been amazed at how the redevelopment of their building has enhanced every aspect of their congregational life and enabled them to connect with their local community in ways that were previously impossible.  Hundreds more people cross the threshold of the church now, simply because the entrance area is inviting and welcoming, the hall is modern, larger, well-lit and well-heated, and has lots of storage, a modern kitchen, power-point and wi-fi access. Without that redevelopment the vehicle for this community engagement would simply not have existed.  In addition, the church is a much happier, economic and environmentally friendly place to work in now that it is freshly plastered, freshly painted and freshly carpeted and the heating and lighting systems work effectively!

In a similar way, it is our hope in Fisherwick to make our halls complex more ‘fit for purpose’.  This would enable us to worship together, learn together and care for one another in a brighter and more positive environment.  It would also provide us with the vehicle that we need to reach out into our community and share God’s love more effectively.

Open frontage similar to the McCracken Memorial and Crescent churches and attractive entrances on both Malone Road and Chlorine Gardens would automatically say to people passing by,“Come in – you are welcome!”

A café style area would allow people to relax in the middle of a busy working day or to wait in comfort while their children attend one of our organisations. It would become a meeting point for students and a welcoming and inviting entrance to our buildings and our community, and would enable us to share our faith in a more relaxed, relevant and non-threatening way.

Rejuvenated halls and rooms would enable us to provide a more welcoming and comfortable environment for babies and toddlers, student lunches, youth organisations and other groups.  They would become a more attractive and inviting space for community groups to provide practical services to the people in our locality, and would enable us to open ourselves to the community in ways that have not been possible before.

Renewed heating and lighting systems which are zoned and timed would also save us considerable amounts of money each year, and moving office facilities into the new halls complex would ensure vital contact between the ministry team and the local community.

All our research and personal experience has shown us that where churches have prayerfully redeveloped in an effort to provide more inviting and modern vehicles for their ministry and mission, invariably their efforts have been rewarded with a greater engagement with the local community and increased opportunity to impact the lives of others positively in both practical and spiritual ways.  That is why, after many years of detailed thought and planning, the Kirk Session is asking the Outreach Project Working Group to undertake a financial feasibility study on the plans that are proposed.  If this study goes ahead I sincerely hope that you will give the project your serious and prayerful consideration.

My special thanks to all of the Outreach Project Team members who have invested countless hours of their time and expertise voluntarily to bring us to this stage so far.

Rev. Michael Anderson

You can find details of the revised plans HERE.