Who We Are
St Mark’s is a church for you
No exceptions. No one is excluded. No one is ‘not good enough’.
We are a family who seek to love and follow Jesus. With the same heart as him, the same love and joy as Him, and the same welcome. No exceptions. No one is excluded. No one ‘not good enough’. Jesus met everyone as they were. He cut through any religious, social, political, racial or gender barriers. He did not exclude anyone. He invited everyone to follow Him. We want to follow his example. We want to live lives that are like His, finding our identity as God’s beloved children. This is a central message of the Bible. If you have felt “hurt by religion”, or damaged by your experience of the church, we want to be part of the healing. So whatever your physical ability, colour, education, gender, sexuality, whether rich or poor, Jesus invites you to belong to His church, and to feel at home in his love and care and delight for each one. If you are looking for faith and friendship, acceptance and understanding and want a bit more detail on what a welcome here implies scroll down.
The church has the widest welcome – because of Jesus.
Sometimes people wonder if they will be welcome in church. They think they might not be good enough, they think they might be disapproved of, they think they might not believe enough. In our society in order to belong to things you often have to be good at something or a certain kind of person. The community of the church is the one place where no one should feel excluded, and where those who know they have not got it together are accepted, because none of us have got it together, as we acknowledge at the start of most of our gatherings. It’s also a safe environment, where people can explore faith and life, and we work hard to protect that safety for all.
Only being truly welcomed can change us.
Come as you are, because God always takes us as we are and draws us closer to Himself. Here at St Mark’s our desire is to accept each other as we are, praying that in this place of hospitality we might not change each other, but instead offer each other space where God’s Spirit will change our hearts and minds. We hope that through belonging to a community committed to loving one another you will experience the beauty of His eternal love and welcome.
We know we don’t always get it right – but we are learning.
If in the past you have felt judged by religion or church, it is our hope that in this church you will find healing from that hurt – that we can be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Help us to grow and to reflect Jesus’ love more. We are keen to listen. Our vision statement says, “We know we have much to learn and our ethos is to be servants.”
Jesus particularly welcomes those who feel most on the outside – and we want to as well
We live in a diverse society and as a church we know we are not separate from that. As part of Jesus’ mission we are called to welcome everyone. Whatever physical ability, colour, education, gender, sexuality, whether rich or poor, we believe everyone has a place, everyone has something to offer the Christian community.
We will do whatever it takes to remove barriers to welcome.
We are not here because of ourselves. This means we will adapt, bend over backwards and do everything in our power to take down any barrier – whether that’s a physical obstacle, or an attitude of heart, that gets in the way of people learning of His love.
To welcome everyone we don’t all need to agree on everything.
Part of being a welcoming community is respecting differences of opinion, and the integrity of those who hold opposite viewpoints within our community. We all seek to understand the Bible, be faithful to what God has shown us and know in our hearts that living His way is the path to life. As humans with incomplete knowledge and understanding, we know that there are many things which we still don’t fully agree on. However, there is a core we all agree on – that we want to love and follow Christ and point everyone towards him.
Our leaders need to understand this welcome, and take responsibility for it.
Another part of welcoming everyone is recognising that everyone’s skills, knowledge, time and energy are needed and valued. We want everyone to grow in their gifts and callings from God. All those who are called to leadership in any aspect of the church’s life need to be part of building this welcoming culture, and reflecting the life of Christ.