Every church has a different DNA, a different vibe or culture. St Mary’s is no different. Here are five aspects of our church life that make us who we are.
ANGLICAN / EVANGELICAL / CHARISMATIC / ROOTED / ENGAGED
St Mary’s is a part of the Church of England and shares a common heritage with the 80 million Anglicans worldwide. Being a part of this significant body of Christians that worship Jesus across the world gives us a particular rhythm and way of being church. The Anglican family is incredibly diverse but our shared liturgy and heritage unite us in deep and powerful ways. Overseen by Bishops, Priests and Deacons, and governed by ‘cannon law’, Anglican churches have a secure and settled feel to them but these structures also facilitate creativity and innovation. Found in every community across the country Anglican churches have soft edges, welcoming those without firm or defined convictions or faith to worship and involvement. The buildings may be solid, and sometimes imposing, but they have wide open doors. Here in Reigate, we are part of the Diocese of Southwark and as a local church we share our resources with the wider diocese to enable and support ministry and mission across the whole area as we play our part in the ‘Hearts on Fire’ vision of the diocese.
We believe that the bible is a unified story that leads towards Jesus. It is the story of God’s relationship with humanity and tells us who we are, what’s gone wrong, what’s the solution, where we are going and how we might get there. We believe that it contains the good news we so desperately need. More than a book of rules or a collection of moral stories, we repeatedly return to scripture to gain a deeper understanding about God, about ourselves and the world we live in. God has spoken to us in many ways but most profoundly he has revealed himself in Jesus and most especially through Jesus’ death on the cross. The cross is our place of freedom, deliverance, new beginning, acceptance and renewal.
The origin of Charismatic comes from the word ‘charis’, which means gift. A charismatic church is one which believes in the gift of the Holy Spirit and which seeks to live in the reality and power of the Spirit in every aspect of its life. We want our church to be filled with God’s life and presence and so we aim to make space for him to breathe on us, personally and together as a church family when we gather to worship and pray.
Christians have been gathering for worship at St Mary’s for over 700 years and we are grateful for all those who have gone before us. While St Mary’s is rooted in the geography of Reigate, it is also rooted in the spiritual practices that go back hundreds of years. As relevant as ever we embrace the ancient wisdom of those who have learned how to be disciples of Jesus in everyday life. We embrace an annual rhythm of worship shaped by Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost and by a weekly rhythm shaped by sabbath rest. Daily we embrace a rhythm of prayer and bible reading to help us connect with God in every situation we find ourselves in. These are the gifts we have received and these are the gifts we want to share with the next generations after us.
We are so excited about being used by God as he expresses his Kingdom through our church community. We recognise that we are living in challenging times and we are praying and seeking God for how to engage with all that faces us. As each generation passes we will continue to invest and equip younger leaders to preach, teach, lead, and disciple a whole new generation of young people as they seek to become fully devoted followers of Christ.