VISION At St Thomas’ Church we believe our vocation is to live out our mission statement, ‘To know Jesus better and make Him better known’. The way we do this can be expressed through 5 key words that represent the values we seek to embed at the centre of our lives together. These are represented by the graphic shown here and is the way we explain everything that we believe the Lord is building at St Toms.
The 5 Words are : Encounter, Belong and Grow These help us in our aim to know Jesus better.
Share and Beyond help us to make Him better known. These help us make Him better known If you would like to know more about the theological basis of our vision then please see below
Outworking The Vision during 2016/17 As with all Parishes in the Eastleigh Deanery and all deaneries in the Winchester Diocese, we have dedicated our pMAP to the Lord at the consecration service at Winchester Cathedral on 21 November 2015. We have a special dispensation, given that we have had a 16 month vacancy, so that Years 2 and 3 of our pMAP can be discerned together under the leadership of Ali Mepham.
Please see The Bishop of Winchester encouraging Ali with the content of our pMAPat his Institution Service
ENCOUNTER At St Toms we believe that the way we get to know Jesus better is to encounter Him in all we do and in this way we are empowered to make him better known Encountering God sits at the centre of our life as a Church
THEOLOGY BEHIND OUR VISION
Built as a Chapel-of-Ease in 1863 the Parish life and mission of St Toms has developed over 150 years as our society has likewise developed. The present vision became clear as the new millennium began.
During the period 2000-2003 St Toms believes it received revelation as to how the Lord wanted to build His Church in Fair Oak and Horton Heath.
In planning to develop the Youth Ministry, “Project Zion”, a “sacred district”, was launched at the Vision Day September 2000. This was thought to ultimately involve construction of a purpose-built facility for youth and community engagement, based upon a “Temple Template”. In planning its design, the PCC saw that Zion was a bigger principle than simply youth ministry - but was indeed for the whole Church.
During 2001 Ezekiel 47:1-12 was given as a passage of scripture on 7 different occasions by visiting speakers and circumstances. The idea of “a river of God, flowing out from St Toms to the community and beyond” was agreed as taking the principle of Zion into a pattern for the Life and Mission of the Parish Church.
In May 2002, to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 50th Coronation Anniversary, “Church in the Park” was held in a “Big Top” over a 3-week period. In retrospect, this completely reconfigured our understanding of being “Outside” to engage with our Community. The Church was never the same afterwards!
During 2003, the PCC presented the growing understanding of the “flowing river” from “Zion” to the Church. During 2005-2007 inclusive the “LifeOutside” Festivals were staged in the summer and the “The Light Party” on All Hallows Eve and “Carols in the Square” Advent event, were first held and have on occasion drawn up to 3000 people together to consider the Kingdom of God in the time since.
By the end of 2007, the following pattern for Life and Mission was therefore established.
The Zion Template
Using the “Temple Template” and its fulfillment in New Testament revelation the following Vision of the Church was established.
Holy of Holies - the place of encounter with God was now open to all on all occasions - this is the central goal of Zion - encounter with God
Holy Place - the place of belonging and growing in our discipleship as we minister as “priests” in the new covenant and can be “observed” by visitors “looking in”
Outer Courts - the place of sharing our faith in the Parish and by acts of compassion across the region in partnership with others
Nations - our call to go beyond our boundaries and be impacted by World Mission through partnership
Bishop Tom Wright - Canon Theologian at St Andrews, Edinburgh - spoke at the Diocesan Conference of September 2013 and confirmed the Temple as a key theological paradigm for the mission of God through the Church. Professor Greg Beale’s work on Temple and Mission is also highly recommended.