December 1, 2019 – The First Sunday of Advent
The Anglican Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas
Apokoronas, Crete, Greece
Diocese of Europe | Church of England
In place of a sermon time the people present at the regular 11:00 am service were asked the following questions, and they answered as follows. We sat in four table groups. Answers have been transcribed from the newsprint sheets on which were recorded each table’s answers.
The stated theme for the Visioning Day, the First Sunday of Advent, was:
What do we need to do to be ready?
Complete the questions, and write your answers on the newsprint, please!
1. At St Thomas’s we are passionate about . . .
- God’s message.
- The survival of our church x 2
- Growing congregation
- Increasing giving – time and talents
- More cash to keep church solvent
- The setting of St Thomas’ and The Garden
- I don’t really sense “passion here. We want to see our passion for the gospel more reflected. At times we have experienced a passion here for prayer, fellowship, sharing the gospel – we’d like more.
2. What really excites me about Sunday morning is . . .
- Music x 2
- Fellowship x 2
- Meeting friends
- Enthusiastic singing
- Communicating with God and with others
- Wrestling with the scriptures
- Sermons x 3
- Looking forward to the services.
- Sacramental presence.
3. I love Crete because . . .
- Mountains x 2
- Sea x 2
- Food x 2
- Cretan people x 2
- The weather x 2
- The countryside
- It gives us time and space to reflect
- Community spirit
4. My favourite time at St Thomas’s was when . . .
- We joined
- The Sunday services X 2
- Fellowship time
- Pilgrimage and retreat at Loutro x 2
- Carol service in the hotel at Almyrida x 2
- Renewal of marriage vows
5. If the church wasn’t there I would miss . . .
- Sunday service x 2
- Fellowship x 3
- Feeling of belonging x 2
- Opportunity for worship
6. God is calling us to . . .
- Pray x 2
- Be a community church x 2
- Be more open x 2
- Radiate God’s love to the wider/outer community x 2
- Have the light and love of Christ shining in Crete (Acts 1.8).
- Worship, pray together, spread his word
- God is calling us to save the planet”
- Surrender to love and transforming love
7. Outside of church, my favourite thing to do is . . .
- Walking x 2
- Walking the dogs
- Eating out x 2
- Being outside
- eating and drinking
- Socialise x2
- Entertaining friends x 2
- Communicate (deeply) with people
- Time to think, meditate, read
- Enjoy the view, beauty
- Raising funds for local charities
8. What’s really different about St Thomas’s is . . .
- Open air worship – it’s a tent! x 2
- It is outside
- Feel like I’m part of God’s creation
- The history x 2
- Tony’s vision x 2
- Location + The setting (but some drawbacks)
- Moveable space
- Made to feel welcome, included
- Emotionally “warm”
- I feel accepted as I am, and accepting of others
- Casual in dress (which is good), but serious about faith
- Accommodating to different denominational backgrounds
- It’s the only Anglican Church on Crete.
- More opportunity to participate.
- Mobile congregation.
9. Something I really want to say is . . .
- We need to reach out to more of the ex-pat community x 2
- We need to be more outward looking
- Time to be more outward looking
- We need to work on publicity x 2
- Develop more welcoming events such as the coffee mornings x 2
- I’m welcoming the changes.
- Excited about what the vision will be.
- I feel burdened by the property and ownership. Worried that we are identified as the building and not as much as the Body of Christ.
- I question is the building is in the right place to serve those it should (i.e. holiday makers w/o cars (so how cane we compensate for the negatives?)
- Improve communication and planning.
- Transformation of the garden is a great transformation.
- Thanks to everyone who contributes.
- How lucky we are to have a wonderful place so close to our homes.
- We worry that we are only accessible by car.
- The Church Council, at its next meeting, will decide whether to work on the Vision Statement all together or delegate it to a small group to develop. The mission statement may be developed at the same time.
- After it has been approved for presentation by the Church Council, the Vision Statement will be presented to a short special meeting of the Congregation for discussion and a motion will be made to adopt it.
- A detailed plan with goals and measureable objectives for the next five years will be developed by the Assistant Chaplain and the Church Council. After approval for presentation by Church Council it will be presented at the Annual Meeting for approval.
- Implementation of the congregational plan will follow, monitored by the Church Council at every meeting.
- Each year it will be reviewed and changed as needed, with reports to the Annual Meeting.