Author Archives: Nigel Chapman

October Newsletter

Here we go!

After two prayer and vision days, looking at the 2016 Parish Profile, listening to hopes and dreams, and various meetings about buildings and fund raising, it is now time to move forward with a new vision. I wrote about this in August, but now we have a Vision Statement that starts to map out precisely what we could be aiming for. This is not a finished article, it will continue to be re-evaluated frequently. In management terms, it is a continuous loop process that is linked to planning, doing and assessing where we are. You can find the full vision statement at the back of church.



There has been significant success with many existing activities having their foundations laid in years gone by. We celebrate these, but we also recognise that life always moves on and changes. We no longer have what we had. That time has been and went! Instead of trying to keep what we had, we have to nurture new and even change direction. This can be painful for some, but is also exciting as we discover new possibilities. It is not always about numbers either, but about fulfilling the direction we feel the Holy Spirit is leading.


If we carry on without questioning, then we could lose what should be at the heart of our mission; to love God and make Christ known. We become introverted, we pull up the drawbridge and simply withdraw in the hope that things will always stay the same, or work themselves out in the end. Yet in the Gospels, Jesus sent his disciples out into a changing world charging them to share good news, heal the sick and “make disciples of all nations”. This is not an easy task, but we need to seek ways in which we can actively share faith in both word and action.


In terms of people we need to build and develop new skills, new leaders, and new members. Discipleship should never be a static solitary activity, but a vibrant relationship with God who sends us out to love as God has loved us. This takes us in many directions, but I want us to focus at the moment with who we are and what we have and not think “if only we had….”


As part of the vision I want us to grow as the body of Christ and be particularly mission minded. This may mean (among other things)

  • Having a skills, gifts, talents and resources audit, to assess potential.
  • Developing our heart for hospitality that welcomes the stranger.
  • Building up the ministry teams, including Baptism/Marriage preparation, developing the remit of the Pastoral team, prayer and healing team, schools’ teams etc.
  • New Bible study and Discipleship groups.
  • Developing ‘Fresh Expressions’ – being creative and having more culturally relevant approaches.
  • Becoming more multi-generational.
  • Doing more outreach activities through Community Week, Harvest, Christmas, Easter.
  • NOT being afraid of making mistakes, recognising no one person can do it all and therefore forgiving one another when we get it wrong.
  • Improve financial stability – which means not just looking at how much we give but how we give, which can make a significant difference.


St John’s Church Centre

Part of the vision is for us to repair and redevelop St John’s. The roof, porch and windows need repairs now and we would like to improve the worship space, kitchen and community centre overall. Christine Wilson is heading up a fund raising team for this as a way of also drawing us together in fellowship too. Yet since I first introduced our developing vision in August £10,000 has been donated – plus £2,500 of Gift Aid which we can claim back next year! Wow, such a generous people. Thank you!


Yet there is also a bigger task and vision. That is to make St John’s Centre fit for purpose into the 2020’s and well beyond. For this we need to redevelop the community centre so that it can be a hub of the community in so many different ways, for the next generations of people in Filey. If we do it right, it could easily last another 50 or 80 years or more and serve the community we love. Steve Yates our Projects Co-ordinator is heading up a team of people who know their way around grant funding and restoration of ancient buildings. Significant funding would be needed, but the professional advise has been to think big, be bold and let the Holy Spirit inspire and lead us.  I do hope you feel you can join with us in this exciting adventure as we explore and move forward – in faith.


Nigel Chapman

Filey Vicar



September News: Archbishop’s Mission

Scarborough Deanery Mission

13-15th October

The Archbishop of York is once again visiting every deanery in the Diocese of York. This is not a personal pilgrimage but an opportunity for us to invite non-Christian friends, relatives and neighbours to meet Jesus, perhaps for the first time.

Come and See – Come follow me” is inspired by some of the people who met Jesus personally. People who were changed by their encounter and then went to call their friends and neighbours to come and meet Jesus for themselves. There are going to be a variety of different activities and events at which the Archbishop will meet and encourage people to follow Jesus.

From schools to meeting people on the street, a healing service to lunch in a pub the Archbishop and his team will be coming to meet people from all walks of life. In Filey, Archdeacon Andy will be going to Ebor School and Bishop Alison is going to be in town on Saturday lunch time meeting and praying with people. There’s going to be a guest healing service with the Archbishop in Hunmanby, Street Mission on the streets of Scarborough with the Archbishop, a barn dance on Saturday evening and on Sunday there is to be a special day of activities entertainment and worship at Scarborough Fair at which Ebor Academy Choir is going to be performing.

As churches in the deanery we are being encouraged to bring other people to come and find out for themselves that having faith in Jesus can be a life changing experience.  To this end we are also being asked to pray and consider who we might invite along to any of the events over the weekend. There are leaflets available in church with a full programme.

Reaching out into the community with the gospel of Jesus Christ is for the Christian as important as breathing. Without doing outreach we grow old and die as a Church. So, this weekend of mission is important and I would encourage you to get involved and to take friends, family or neighbours who are not already involved in the life of Christian faith to one or more of the events. If you can’t do that, then perhaps at the very least, you would take an interest and pray for the weekend, the Archbishop and all who are going to be involved.

Mission is never a mistake, it makes a massive difference to the life of the church.

Every Blessing

Nigel Chapman

Vicar of Filey

Prayer and Vision

At our recent Prayer and Vision Day we came to the conclusion that we are going to close St Oswald’s and let the Medieval Historical Society have it as a museum. The congregation can then move to St Thomas’ thereby making sure that we have a full church every week.


OK NO WE DIDN’T! The day was not necessarily about a radical rethink for the future. Having vision is like having strategy. In context, it is about how we endeavour to be faithful to the mission of the church – to serve Christ and make him known. The day was about seeking purpose in our relationship with God as we move toward the 2020’s.


Our prayers for the day centred around Psalm 23. The refrain “and I will trust in you Oh Lord – for your endless mercy follows me” led me to ask how are we nurturing a trusting relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ personally as well as corporately. Furthermore, how are we enabling others to come into fellowship with Christ? In the Psalm we note that God offers:

  • relationship,
  • rest,
  • refreshment,
  • healing,
  • guidance and
  • purpose.

Even in dark and difficult testing times God offers protection for the soul, faithfulness, security, hope and hospitality. God wants to bless us abundantly, and what he requires of us is to offer that blessing to the community. So, are we fit for purpose? What should we develop and what should we leave behind?


The Archdeacon of Cleveland led us through some diverse areas to think about including how the world has changed in recent years and how are we responding?

For instance, people no longer believe in absolute truth, individualism has taken over from community, spirituality is wider and more pick and mix in our post modernism (and even that is now old hat)! Christianity can feel marginalised and is just another among many religious practices. Sadly, it is also often regarded as ‘fake’. We live in challenging times. So, what is the future for our church?


Acts 2:17

Quoting Joel, St Luke wrote ‘“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams”’.


Vision and dreams (or hopes) help us to take stock and assess where we are, so that we may be clearer about where we need to be going. So here are a few reflections that emerged from those who came on the day:

  • Focus on who we are and what we have and not dwell on what we haven’t got. No more “what if’s” or “if only’s”.
  • Face the challenges and where necessary refocus our energies.
  • How can we be more inclusive and make church really accessible to all?
  • If we do nothing, we can only expect to decline in numbers.
  • It may mean changes in how we do things and what we offer.
  • We need to consider where our time, money and energies are going and ask ourselves what should be our priorities.
  • Do a skills and gifts audit.
  • We cannot do everything, and the vicar can’t be everywhere, but there are some obvious gaps – such as with young people.
  • It may mean merging some activities to release time and people for other things, such as a Youth Café.


Where now?

Over the next few weeks I would encourage you to continue to discuss, pray and seek vision for our churches. We want to allow our thoughts to develop and the right strategies to emerge. For sure, standing still is not an option and priorities need to be set. To this end I would invite you to come together again for a plenary time on Saturday 5th August in the Vicarage marquee from 10.30am – 12.30pm. Our starting point will be (as one person reflected on the day) –  ‘Believe in what you are being called to do and use the resources you have, purposefully, to further the Kingdom.


May God bless our churches as we continue to develop our vision and sense of purpose.

With every Blessing

Nigel Chapman