News & Events

United Services

Recently, a decision has been made to draw an end to the United Services which we hold on the first Sunday of every month. Sunday 7thApril at St Peter’s will be the last united service, and from May onwards each church will have its own service every Sunday.

I know that some people will be saddened by this decision, and so I wanted to take this opportunity to explain some of the thinking that has led to it. Here is a paper I wrote to explore the united services in the context of church growth.

Feedback from church questionnaire

What are some of the good things about the united services?

  • Togetherness, friendship, meeting new people, community
  • Variety of worship, music, preaching
  • Sharing resources
  • Being part of a larger congregation

What are some of the reasons why some people don’t go?

  • Parking and transport difficulties
  • Time of service (too early or too late)
  • Having a Sunday off
  • Preference for own church
  • Feeling like an outsider

How else could we work together?

  • Prayer groups and bible studies
  • Social events, day trips, events
  • Community/charity projects across Cleethorpes
  • Good communication between churches

Thinking about Church growth

We know that the Church nationally is in decline. Our focus as churches should be on growth. One of the main bits of research done about church growth is called “From Anecdote to Evidence” which can be read online here:

These are some of the ways churches grow:

  • Growth in discipleship– focused on our congregations – how we grow together as disciples
  • Growth in numbers– how we grow our churches numerically – how we increase attendance
  • Growth in outreach– how we grow our presence in the communities we serve – the outworking of other types of growth

Common factors in growing churches

  • Context: churches in urban and suburban areas like Cleethorpes have more potential for growth than rural areas (which are more likely to face decline)
  • Leadership: clergy should be intending to grow their churches; growing churches often have leaders who can engage with outsiders/newcomers, are intentional about worship style/tradition, have a vision for growth, can develop vision and goals, can train other people for mission/ministry.
  • Clear mission & purpose: we’re more likely to grow if we know who we are, who we’re here to serve, what our identity is.
  • Reflection & learning: churches which engage in self-reflection are more likely to grow; churches which have one way of doing things with no input from others are more likely to decline.
  • Willingness to change & adapt: being open to newcomers even though they disrupt the status quo; trying new things but also being willing to let them go if they don’t work.
  • Lay leadership: churches where the workload is shared between clergy and lay people are more likely to grow.
  • Engaging children & young people: churches with high ratio of children to adults more likely to grow; churches which offer specific programmes for children and teenagers more likely to grow.
  • Engaging non-churchgoers: churches which look outward and engage with the local community; community engagement improves visibility of church.
  • Good hospitality & follow up: welcoming atmosphere, belonging and caring, direct route to growth is often by invitation, keeping in touch with newcomers more likely to lead to their return.
  • Commitment to nurturing new & existing Christians: exploration courses for newcomers or people on the fringe, discipleship courses for long-term churchgoers.
  • Vision: vision for growth, desire to experiment, desire for renewal.

Reframing the united services in the context of church growth

  • Context: we are five distinct churches serving five distinct areas of the town. Doesn’t that give us more variety?
  • Closed doors: Every month, four out of five churches in Cleethorpes are closed. Is that having an impact on our local communities? Is it helping us to grow? Are we being hospitable?
  • Congregation size: we like feeling part of something bigger, but are we actually missing out? Our average attendance is about 60 people at a united service, but if everyone was in their own church, the number of people worshipping in Anglican churches in Cleethorpes would be double that.
  • Welcoming newcomers: Regular patterns of worship are important. At the moment, none of us are able to say to newcomers/visitors “we’re here every Sunday” – we’d need to be able to explain the pattern of united services. It might make sense to us, but what about people who don’t yet come to church?
  • Willingness to change: the united services started in a particular context of mission and ministry. Circumstances have changed – do we need to change too?
  • Consistent worship: as individual churches we follow the seasons of the year – gathering together in different churches means that consistency in our worship and the preaching/teaching is lost.
  • Leadership: Clergy have the “cure of souls” for everyone in the parish – we’re not chaplains to our congregations.

What might the future look like?

  • We hope that there will be full-time clergy deployed in Clee and Cleethorpes.
  • We could explore the possibility of a more formal relationship uniting the five churches.
  • We would meet together for worship at different times, such as Sunday afternoons or evenings. Do the same feelings of togetherness and fellowship still apply, even if we’re not together on a Sunday morning?
  • We could meet together for special occasions and festivals like Christmas, Candlemas, Easter, Pentecost.
  • We do more things together which isn’t Sunday worship:
    • Weekdays services, prayer and bible study groups
    • Social events, trips, retreats
    • Community outreach work
    • Youth work

Christmas Eve

Carols by Candlelight – Christmas Eve – 6pm

Every year, on Christmas Eve, we hold a popular service of Carols by Candlelight at 6pm. This year you are invited to come and celebrate Christmas with familiar readings and traditional carols. The service is about 45 minutes long and there will be mulled wine and mince pies afterwards!

A big part of our ethos at St Francis is hospitality – enjoy a warm welcome this Christmas and celebrate with family and friends.

Christingle – 16/12/18

Sunday 16th December at 3pm

You are invited to our Christingle Service, a fun, Christmas-themed celebration for all ages! We gather to hear the Nativity story and sing some well-known carols and songs.

We use the symbol of the Christingle as a way of talking about God’s love for the world. A Christingle is an orange, surrounded by a red ribbon and sweets, topped by a candle. The orange represents the world, the red ribbon is God’s love, the sweets are God’s gifts to us, and finally the candle represents the light of Christ, which the Bible tells us no darkness can ever put out.

Come on Sunday 16th at 3pm and you’ll receive a warm welcome, as we get ready for our Christmas celebrations!

Christmas Wreath Festival

You are warmly invited to take part in our Second Annual Christmas Wreath Festival!

The festival will launch on Saturday 17th November at our Christmas Fair and be on display during Advent and Christmas.

We invite individuals, groups, churches, schools and other organisations to participate. This year’s theme is “Christmas Stars” and so we would welcome either decorated stars or round wreaths which are star-themed, no bigger than 40cm in diameter. This is not a competition, but simply a way of bringing the whole community together to celebrate Christmas.

If you would like to provide a wreath or star, please fill out the form below so we have an idea of numbers. Let us know your name and if you’re representing an organisation or school so we write it on the name card that will go with each wreath. Wreaths can be left in church on or before Wednesday 14th November.

Do come and visit our Christmas Fair on 17th November between 11am and 1pm to see the wreaths in place. The church will also be open every Tuesday afternoon up until Christmas between 1.30pm and 3pm.

We hope you will be able to join us in what will be an exciting project for Christmas!

Take part in the Christmas Wreath Festival

Remembering our loved ones…

You are invited to our Service of Remembering on Sunday 4th November at 3pm.

This simple service of readings, familiar songs and prayers will give you the opportunity to light a candle in memory of your loved ones who are no longer with us, as we hear their names read aloud.

Everyone is welcome – it doesn’t matter whether you were bereaved recently or a long time ago.

St Francis’ Day 2018

Most Anglican churches are dedicated to a particular saint or name of God. Our patron is St Francis of Assisi, and we’re celebrating his Feast Day on Sunday 7th October at 10.15am.

We look forward to welcoming our guest preacher, Dr Sally Buck, who is the Warden of Lay Ministry for the Diocese of Lincoln.

This is a Cleethorpes united service, which means that we’ll be joined by members of other Cleethorpes churches – which will really add to the festival-feeling!

We look forward to welcoming you to St Francis!

Harvest Festival

You are warmly invited to our Harvest Festival on Sunday 30th September at 6pm!

This informal bring-and-share supper will conclude our celebrations of harvest and creation over the month of September. Supper will take place in the context of a service around the table, with familiar Harvest songs and hymns, as well as sharing the bread and wine of Communion.

You’re always guaranteed a warm welcome at St Francis, Cleethorpes – we hope you’ll join us for this special gathering!

September 2018 – a month of Harvest Festivals!

A whole month of Harvest Festivals? Well… sort of!

Many churches keep September as a time to celebrate the gift of creation and the blessings we see all around us in the natural world. On each Sunday this month, our services will be centred on themes of creation and harvest, with some well-known hymns and songs to match!

At our Harvest Festival, we normally collect non-perishables for Harbour Place in Grimsby. This year, we’ll have an open collection all month! If you can donate tins, packets and other goods, bring them to church on Wednesdays between 11.30am and 1pm, Thursdays between 9am-10am, or Sundays between 10am-12.30pm.

Our celebrations will culminate with our Harvest Festival on Sunday 30th September at 6pm – including a bring-and-share supper! You’re all invited!

Picnic on the Green

On Sunday 17th June, we’ll be hosting our second annual Picnic on the Green!

We started this event last year as part of the Great Get Together, which takes place in memory of Jo Cox MP, as we strive to bring communities together.

Everyone is welcome to join us between 12.30-2.30pm on the church green on Sandringham Road (DN359HA). Bring a picnic and something to sit on (like a blanket or a folding chair) and just enjoy some time with family and friends!

For more information, please email or see our Facebook page.

Summer Fair – Sunday 16th June

Everyone is invited to our annual Summer Fair!

This year, it’s on Sunday 16th June between 1-3pm. There will be a wide variety of stalls selling cakes, books, plants, jewellery and children’s toys! Light refreshments will be available and members of Cleethorpes church youth group, The Net, will be running some children’s games for us.

We look forward to seeing you there!