A new parish magazine in the Hinckley benefice of St Mary is equipping the church and school family in their witness and mission across the community, as well as building upon relationships with local businesses.
‘Spotlight’ contains a mix of articles, theological reflections, interviews, activities, news and information, and has been written and edited by members of the congregation, alongside contributions of pictures and prayers from children at St Mary’s School.
It is encouraging to see the relationships grow between the church, school, and sectors of this community as they stand together to serve their neighbours.
Revd Ian Hill, Vicar of St Mary's Hinckley, which is part of the Inclusive Church Network, says: “It’s several years since our last magazine ceased publication, but as we discussed our mission strategy we felt that a free magazine, engaging those outside the church, would be hugely beneficial.
He continues: “We value our relationship with the school very highly and welcome them into church twice weekly for Collective Worship (one of which is taken by a church minister), and this new magazine helps cement that relationship.”
The magazine has encouraged members of St Mary’s in their mission to their community and enabled people to share their previously unused gifts and talents with the church. As a result, the magazine is inspiring members of the church to open conversations about God with friends they have given copies to.
Revd Ian says: “We pray that we will be able to reach those on the fringes of the church and those currently unconnected with us so that through this outreach we can build relationships, spark conversations, and inspire people to join us and put their faith in Jesus. We want to help people outside of our regular worshiping community see who we are and realise that we truly mean it when we say that everyone is welcome to our fully inclusive church.”
The church has been blessed by the generosity of local business, Seller’s Undertakers, who sponsor the magazine and cover the printing costs, making the magazine free to the wider community at no cost to the church.
Copies can be found in the church, library, cafes, and shops, with an electronic version available online via the church website – the school also send a copy on email to all its families.
The plan is for Spotlight to be quarterly, as it is a huge amount of work for volunteers, with the next edition being food themed for Harvest.
Revd Ian says: “I am very excited that we can bring God’s love afresh to our parish through this magazine. It will enable us to bring the message of God’s unconditional acceptance to more of our community, and to demonstrate that St Mary’s is a safe space for all to encounter the living God.”
Another piece of good news from the church is that a pair of Peregrine Falcons have successfully hatched a chick on the tower of St Mary’s – the first time this has been recorded in the history of the medieval tower.
Mother peregrine laid four eggs towards the end of the breeding season, only one of which eventually hatched. The photograph was taken when the chick was professionally ringed on 12 June.
A live stream into the church coffee bar was set up several weeks ago, and regulars and visitors have been watching the birds. People can also follow the peregrines via the Facebook page Peregrines of Hinckley.