Read about the "Shine" worship community at St Matthew's Highfield School and their Growing Faith Adventure.
In line with the Growing faith Agenda and the need to build good connections between church, school and home, in February 2023 St Matthews Church in Wigan West Parish planted the “Shine “worship community at St Matthews Highfield School
For 6 months the team from both Church and School prayed about a worship community. The team which is mainly lay-led, made up of some ordained clergy, members of the Church, and parents from the School, is led by Sarah Murphy a part-time teacher at the School who wanted to see more families from the school meet with Jesus.
The vision was quite simple, to connect with those families who would not come to a church on a Sunday morning, to meet midweek and importantly to meet in School. As a Parish, two similar worshipping communities had already been planted,” Lighthouse” at St James School and “Wellspring” at St Paul’s School.
However, what stood out is that all three worship communities are very different. At Shine, adults and children meet all together around tables, while at Wellspring adults occupy one room and children another, Lighthouse meet together, have worship nights, and do work in the community such as litter picks. Though each is different there is still a strong focus on meeting families where they are. This is a result of building strong relationships and the trust of the School, and working together with the church. At Shine, they have connected with families who would not normally come to Church, recently when the first term review was held, families said this.
“It’s a place to belong, A place of welcoming, introducing me to Jesus and His stories that I have never heard, it’s great to do Church together, eating together, being together and bringing School and Church together”
This was the vision!
The name Shine emphasises the School curriculum focus and also comes from the Gospel of Matthew, “To go and shine before everyone.” The aim of the worship community is to shine a light in the darkness and to be a blessing to our community. They are now looking not only how they grow as a worship community but also at how they serve the local community.
We feel this is a great example of what is currently being developed in the Diocese, joining Church, School, and home as one so that all three are interlinked. Rev Mark Wade who has been involved in all three worship communities in Schools sees this as a gift of “Growing as disciples both children and adults, building the relationship with School and Church to be on an Adventure together, and seeing new people come to faith and growing new leaders. These key three areas Church, School and Home are joined as one and growing as disciples together.
If you are interested in seeing how this works do get in touch with Rev Mark Wade firstname.lastname@example.org or book your place at the Growing Faith Adventure conference in October.