Holy Cross Church serves a community of about 10,000 souls with a wide range of socio-economic
backgrounds and needs. The Church is attended by an average of 30 – 35 people each
week and currently pays a parish share of around £20,000 p/a although some of this
is taken from the parishes reserves. The congregation are mostly elderly although
there are some younger members and there is opportunity for further development in
this regard. There is a high level of commitment from the congregation in terms of
activity and financially, through the planned giving scheme. Holy Cross is currently
undergoing a time of uncertainty. The previous incumbent Fr. Richard Bromfield retired
in July 2012 and the Diocese has yet to decide what exactly it proposes to do with
the parish. At one point a merger of the parish with the parish of St. Cuthman's,
Whitehawk was mooted but this proposal has subsequently been abandoned. At a recent
meeting of the Deans and Whitehawk Group ministry (of which both Holy Cross and St.
Cuthmans are members) we were informed by the Archdeacon of Chichester that no decision
has yet been taken as to the future of Holy Cross. In January 2013 Fr. Stephen Date
was licensed as Priest – in Charge on a one year license. We are aware that financial
constraints mean that it is possible that Fr. Stephen's license cannot be renewed
and that subsequently the parish no longer retains the services of a full time incumbent.
We have begun to make some progress this year and we believe that it is still possible
to turn around our situation and for our congregation to grow. This mission action
plan details some of the things we have begun to do this year and some of the things
that we think we ought to be looking at later this year and in the next couple of
years to come. We believe very strongly that if things are allowed to drift we will
get to a point where the future of the church will no longer be viable. We believe
equally strongly that this would be unacceptable. We are treating congregational
growth as a matter of priority. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, we regard
the making of disciples to be a high priority for any Christian community and, secondly,
the existing congregation is 'maxed out' in terms of partcipation in the parish giving
scheme and in fund raising. We believe that if we increase the congregational numbers
this will lead to an increase in giving and in the amount of fund raising we are
able to engage in. We believe that this, or in any event something like this – we
are open to further suggestions, is the way forward for our parish.
Itemised MAP for 2013-2015
1/ The establishment of a monthly Family Eucharist. Baptism families are being encouraged
to have their children baptised at this service. This began on Mothering Sunday and
has been well received.
2/ The establishment of a weekly Sunday Club for the under elevens. We have identified
some local families who would welcome this development. This is currently under way
and should begin shortly once volunteer CRB checks have been completed.
3/ The establishment of a café style seeker service to be held (initially) once a
month. Currently at the planning stage.
4/ We are engaged in various forms community outreach with a stall planned at the
carnival in June, the Vicarage garden being open to the public and a scarecrow competition
and flower festival planned for Harvest.
5/ We have established a 'Basics Box' to collect food for the Basics Bank run by
Brighton City Mission. This is also being supported by groups which use the Church
6/ Father Stephen has made contact with the local schools and hopes to be taking
assemblies there in the near future.
7/ Discussions between ecumenical colleagues in the Baptist and Methodist Church
are currently ongoing. One possibility currently being mooted is the establishment
of a Woodingdean Boys Brigade troop to be sponsored by all three churches.
8/ More thought needs to be given to our publicity. At the very least the Church
sign needs renovation. We plan to get banners up for Sunday School, Family Eucharist
and the Seeker Service. We need to improve our advertising in the community.
9/ We have set up a 'Friends of Holy Cross, Woodingdean' which will initially be
publicised in the next issue of Woodingdean News (which is distributed to every household
in Woodingdean). This will hopefully lead to some extra money coming in.
10/ We will be active participants in the Deans and Whitehawk Group Mission, tentatively
planned for 2014.
11/ The establishment of a parent and child breakfast club in the church hall on
Saturday mornings in late 2013/ 2014.
12/ We would like to offer something like an Alpha course – possibly again in 2014.
13/ We are putting in a bid to the Deanery Mission Fund to help resource some of
This list is not exhaustive. Other opportunities may present themselves. Members
of the PCC and Congregation may have alternative suggestions, as may others. This
will be kept under review by the PCC where 'Mission' and 'Young People' are now permanent