There's always a number of new faces in church and it's one of the joys of ministry in such a busy London district as Islington that predicting who'll be worshipping with us is impossible from week to week. But just how many of us have come to St Mary's for the first time recently?
We've recently been reflecting on who St Mary's Church is and what our shared calling under God in serving him in this place and in this time might be. In a three-week period, we invited members of the congregations in our Sunday and Wednesday services to mark the date of their first visit to St Mary's on a timeline.
The results are fascinating. One in ten of us first came to the church in the first nine weeks of 2011. Fewer than half of us have been worshipping here since 2004. And yet we have a long history too. Our longest-standing regular member, Kathleen, is proud to have been at St Mary's since the mid 1950s. We even have a couple of members who visited for the first time in the 1930s, though they've returned only relatively recently.
This shape of church brings its challenges. One of these is finding ways of sharing our values and priorities in an effective way. Expect to see more soon about our understanding of who we are and what we're about.