St John’s Survey Responses

An open session and display to discuss the possible future of St John’s Church, Hale, will be held next Saturday, 27th May, at the church from 10am to 2pm.

The discussion will centre around the ideas generated from responses to a recent survey sent out to residents living close to the church. This asked for their ideas about how to ensure the church remains open in the long-term and how it can be used for the local community during the week as well as on a Sunday.

The survey was delivered to 1,700 houses in Hale. The overall response was positive to the idea of the ‘interior of the church being altered to create a space for complementary uses, while maintaining worship as its primary use’.

Ideas include removing the pews and replacing them with chairs which would be used in church services including baptisms, weddings and funerals, and also allowing complementary uses during the week such as a soft play area, a cafe, and groups offering support for those suffering with addictions or needing debt counselling. The space created could also be used for art exhibitions, or for orchestra and choir recitals.

One respondent commented that by “removing the dark pews and replacing them with bright comfortable chairs will create a versatile space and be lighter”.  Another said: “as much as I love the pews, they do limit the way the space can be used and make worship very formal and perhaps for many do not foster a feeling of participation and equality”.

However, for some of those who responded, the idea of reordering the interior of the church is painful and difficult.  A respondent who regards himself as a traditionalist sad that he could “see the need to increase usage of the church for other activities apart from church services” but would “just have to accept it as progress”. However, another added: “St John’s will remain beautiful whatever happens and to me will feel more beautiful if the building is more full of life”.

The feedback session with refreshments will run from 10am to 2pm on 27th May 27. Come along to discuss some ideas and options for the future of St John’s.

For further information, contact Rev’d Hannah Moore on 01252 659267, email or visit

Election Results 2017 (PCC not Country!)

At the Annual Church Meetings held on Sunday 30th April the following were elected:

Ex Officio
Lesley Crawley
Alan Crawley
Lesley Shatwell
Hannah Moore

Carol Le Page
Pamela Marsham
Bob Shatwell

Deputy Churchwardens:
Margaret Emberson
Maxine Everitt

PCC Members:
John Boas
Gemma Brown
Sylvie Burrows
Angela Hall
Kris Lawrence
Annie Thomas
Bill Thomas
Diana Thomas
Stella Wiseman

Co-opted Members:
Sarah Kay
Vicky Kidney

Other Church Officers

Gemma Brown

Sarah Kay

Safeguarding Officer
Maurice Emberson

Electoral Roll Officer
Jennifer Paterson

Stewardship Officer
Peter Paterson

Some thoughts on conflict

At St George’s we have been having a series of ‘Vision Hours’ where we consider many things to do with the life, work and mission of our church. At the most recent session we thought about conflict as we have experience some of it recently! Conflict in churches can often feel frightening because we don’t expect it – we expect churches to be peaceful and tolerant, when they aren’t we are surprised. Moreover, most people of faith are deeply passionate about the things to do with faith – the beliefs, the community, the buildings, the mission, the words we use, the music we play, the way we do things. Hence, conflict in churches can feel more highly charged than conflict in other arenas.

However, conflict in the church is as old as the church itself. God in God’s wisdom decided to make us all different, and hence we all have different priorities and ideas. Sometimes these things complement each other and sometimes these things cause tension. In every age the church has struggled to recreate itself so that it can be relevant to the community that it serves. Communities never stay the same and neither do churches. However, change is invariably uncomfortable and leads to conflict.

A group called Bridge Builders have a great deal of wisdom on the subject of conflict. They help churches when conflict becomes painful and destructive. Over the years they have developed an understanding of helpful conflict and unhelpful conflict:

Unhelpful Conflict Helpful Conflict
1. Conflict viewed as wrong and sinful 1. Conflict viewed as inevitable and evidence of involvement
2. Members spiritualise conflict – equate their own view with that of God 2. Members draw from spiritual resources – listening, confession and prayer
3. Members blur issues and people – relationships suffer, people given a cold response. 3. Members separate issues and people – relationships maintained with those who disagree and differ.
4. Leaders discourage expressions of difference and plead for harmony. 4. Leaders encourage expressions of difference and they too can disagree with others.
5. Indirect communication flourishes – talk about people, not to them 5. Direct communication is maintained and clarification sought.
6. Members hoard up hurts and offences. 6. Members keep short accounts with each other.
7. In the stress of conflict, a few vocal people are heard, intimidating the other people. 7. In the stress of conflict, many voices are heard and people are energized by debate.
8. Members react explosively or defensively to the views of others 8. Members interact thoughtfully to the views of others.
9. Discussions focus on positions and people get stuck in their own position. 9. Discussions focus on the process and the problem and only later on possible solutions.
10. Low tolerance of uncertainty and members want issues over and done with. 10. Members able to move calmly through inevitable periods of uncertainty.
11. People repress inner conflicts caused by past experiences and continually project them into the church conflict. 11. People are consciously aware of their past hurts or unresolved conflicts and take responsibility not to project them into the current situation.


It might be a surprise to find that conflict can be helpful, but more than being helpful, it is in many cases essential. Conflict forms community and builds intimacy. It is one of the stages of community:

Four Stages of Community

A well-known psychologist, M. Scott Peck, says that any group of people who previously don’t know each other who come together form a community that goes through four stages:


People want to be loving and kind. It is a pleasant place to be. In order to achieve this, people withhold some of the truth of themselves. Differences are minimised or ignored.


Eventually, some differences will appear. This is a shock. It is no fun. It is uncomfortable and unpleasant. We want it to go back to the niceness and comfort we knew before. Eventually, we can bear it no more, we look at who is to blame and the blame is attached to a variety of things until it rests on the leader who bears the brunt of the anger of the community.

From here the community can find its way back to psudo-community or they can walk the painful path through emptiness and grief:


Members empty themselves of the barriers to communication. They become honest and within each member mini deaths occur – preconception, expectations, projections, ideology. Members start to share their own brokenness, fears failures and defeats.

True community

True community embraces the light and the darkness. The joy and the reality of human failing. A genuine peace descends. When people speak others listen without trying to fix. The community becomes a place of incredible healing.