Neighbourhood Social Gatherings
Some people may be wondering what is happening about the neighbourhood gatherings as we have not had one in the past year. Well it was felt that it was time to evaluate the ones we have had and make any necessary adjustments. For those who are new to St Peters and are not aware of these gatherings, let me give you a brief background. St. Peters is unlike the average parish church where members of the congregation live within the parish and of necessity meet in a variety of settings during the week, such as at the corner shop, post office, school events or at the health centre. The diverse geographical location of St Peters congregation mean that most people only meet in church on Sundays and have no other contact and therefore never get to know each other. For some people, this is fine, but the number of people who stay behind after the service to socialise is a testimony that some people would like to get to know other members of the congregation better. Neighbourhood gatherings was born as an attempt to encourage those who live in the same area to get to know each other in a way that is not possible on Sundays. For a variety of reasons, some people who would like to, cannot stay behind on Sundays, and there are some who do not attend the 10.45 service, but worship at other times either on Sundays or during the week and therefore never get to meet the majority of the congregation who worship at the main service.
Inspite of the spread of the congregation, seven distinct clusters were identified. It was decided that each of these clusters would form a neighbourhood group and that a social gathering would be organised twice a year, hosted by someone in the group on a rotational basis. This way, those who wish to, would get to know at least, some people with whom they worship a bit better than they otherwise would. For a variety of reasons, some of these gatherings were more successful than others and some people for legitimate reasons, could not attend the gathering of their own group. There have been many positive feedback and it is generally felt that these events were useful and should be continued.
The next set of gatherings are being planned for June and July. Unlike the past when everyone was invited to attend the gathering in their own area, the dates for all seven will be advertised. While it is hoped that people would attend the one for their own area, there will be an open invitation to attend one of the others if they cannot make their own. It is hoped that no one who would like to attend would be deterred because of travelling difficulties - transport can be arranged for those who need it.
Invitation letters will be sent out in the not too distant future, it is hoped that as many people as possible will make every effort to attend one of them. They are fun and informal and people do get to know each other.