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Vision & Mission

Vision

The vision of St. Barnabas church is to love God in all things, and above all; and to love our neighbour - whatever their race, colour, condition, or creed - as ourself.

Through devotion, worship, and study, through sharing in the joys and pain of the world, through commitment to loving discipleship within the local and wider community, we pray that we may “bear fruit richly” to the glory of God: as a lively and welcoming congregation, a “holy people”, a practical and facilitating resource for the local community, and an outward looking fellowship, informed and engaged with both local and global issues.

Mission

 We are called to proclaim the Gospel both in our Christian distinctiveness and in the quality of our everyday relationships in this world to which Jesus came “in great humility”.

We are called to open our doors to people from all backgrounds and traditions across the whole community, through events that celebrate the vision of community with which the Gospel inspires us. This we aim to do both through the traditional services and ministry of the church, and through intercultural and community arts events, affirming the reality of ‘God in ordinary’ that is intrinsic to the economy of the Incarnation.

Within a materialistic, functionalist, divided society there is need for affirmative mission, in which Christian faith is defined not merely apologetically, in opposition to others, but doxologically, in ways that also reflect the pastoral imperative and redemptive presence of the incarnate Christ.

In our multifaith context we have a task to re-envision the sense of “parish”, in a way that both engages with civil agendas of “social cohesion” and also gives form to the wider vision of community, beyond any purely secular conception, with which we are blessed, and to which we are called, in Christ.

Within our context we believe the traditional “parish model” of Church has fresh relevance. Much contemporary Christian witness in the UK successfully blends with the dominant environment of town-centre workplace culture. While this is effective in contextualising the Gospel in an idiom that people find familiar and un-threatening, there is also a need for a pointer to the otherness, the radical yet historically “incarnate” distinctiveness and universality of Christian life. In most areas of Britain perhaps it is appropriate for the Church of England to go outside the confines of the traditional parish church to communicate this. However, in areas where Christianity is a minority faith, and where historical continuity can be felt to have been swept away by changes that profoundly disturb people’s understanding of their own identity, the situation is different. In such areas the church is a resource of hope, sanctuary, support, and restorative, re-energising community. Culturally and religiously distinct, yet through its architectural uniqueness expressing diversity rather than cultural uniformity, our parish church building stands as a visible sign of God’s enduring love for an ever-changing world. At the same time it expresses engagement with both the challenges and the opportunities of change, and the commitment of the whole Christian body to a sustained presence in an area of social fragmentation.

 We are working to develop a celebratory presence that on the one hand affirms continuity with the “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12.1) who have gone before us, and on the other offers new creative ways of communicating our faith. In doing this we are like the master of a household “who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Matthew 13.52). In inviting people across the whole community to share with us the riches of insight and celebration with which we are blessed in Christ, we are saying, as Philip said to Nathaniel, “Come and see” (John 1.46). Through celebratory interaction that builds contact across humanly determined barriers, we seek to model new possibilities of discipleship of the one Lord, proclaiming “the name” of the Trinitarian mystery not only in dogmatic doctrinal formulation, but in joyous exploration of what it means today to follow Jesus’s injunction “to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28.19-20).

Our resources are modest. Yet first and foremost we trust in the blessing and grace of God promised to those who respond faithfully to Christ's call to discipleship. This is a call not to hide our light "under a bushel", but to let it shine forth to lighten and gladden the lives of all. Then we have the strength of our fellowship together in Christ - the mutual encouragement of prayer and practical neighbourly support. The church also has a remarkable history of adapting in response to change. Finally, we have the resource of a building that offers unique facilities in the local area: beautiful, friendly and not impersonal, it is the largest public space in the vicinity, with an excellent acoustic and good accessibility. These resources we are committed to offering in love and service to all, in the name of God, creator, sustainer, and redeemer of all.

Finding Us

Browning Road
Manor Park
London
E12 6PB