In 2009 the Parish prepared its Mission Action Plan. The Plan set out three objectives:
- To provide a more hospitable and creative space to accommodate present and new initiatives
- To create a more inviting and practical entrance to the church building
- To develop forms of worship more suited to outreach and new uses for the church building
Our first objective, which was also the most substantial, has been achieved with the building of the new Community Room. There has also been progress towards objective three. Our worship every Sunday now ensures a proper welcome for our children and a regular Taize Service is being arranged in place of Evensong.
Social opportunities are always much appreciated. We gather for coffee after the Parish Communion each Sunday. This provides opportunity for us to interact with one another and to welcome new-comers and continues for almost an hour after the service. There are monthly coffee mornings in the Community Room or elsewhere in the village and these are also popular.
Also appreciated are opportunities for group study. During our last incumbency, short courses in Advent, Lent and at other times attracted attendance beyond our regular congregation.
Concerts, talks and other social occasions have often been initiated by ‘The Friends of St. Mary’s’. Members of ‘The Friends’ include village people of other denominations and also non church goers ready to support the upkeep of their Parish Church. As well as talks and musical evenings, the ‘Friends’ have staged occasional more ambitious ventures such as ‘son et lumière’. The church provides a splendid setting for such events and the acoustics of the building are excellent.
For regular fundraising we rely heavily on our annual Gift Day. This normally coincides with our Harvest Thanksgiving. There has also been a Harvest lunch on the same day and this is always popular and well supported. We are hoping that the new Community Room will enable us to extend what we can do together and that it will bring in other groups, from outside the Church.
Within the village we give financial support and some practical help to the Stapleford and Shelford Youth Initiative. This is an inter-church Youth Club formed in 1996 to provide a safe meeting place for teenagers from 12-18 years. It is open to all, regardless of religious belief, race, gender or ability. We also run stalls at the Shelford Feast, an annual celebration for the whole village and beyond.