At the end of the 20th century the parish was faced with falling congregations and a deteriorating stock of buildings that we could not afford to maintain properly. We spent much time thinking and praying about this problem in a process that we called ‘Discerning the Vision’. We decided that we needed to turn our focus outwards and forwards.
We wished to build on our tradition of serving God by serving the people of Surbiton. As we thought about what we and the wider community wanted and needed in the present, we also tried to think of future generations. We committed ourselves to:
To help us to decide how we could best put this ideal of service into practice a Community Audit was undertaken in 2003, to find out what people ‘out there’ needed in Surbiton. We know that we must always listen to the wider community, who may not say what we expect them to say; and also listen to God’s word for us and the people of Surbiton.
‘Embracing the Vision’ therefore involved more prayer, talk and listening; but one thing that was immediately obvious was that we could not provide properly for our own needs or those of our neighbours with our existing stock of buildings. So the main activity in this period was the development of the ambitious scheme that we have called the Vision Project. This sought to realise the value locked up in the two decaying parish halls to fund the revitalisation of the two church buildings, and the construction of brand new community facilities. We have also helped the scouts to build their new HQ. Central to this project has been a desire to integrate the church buildings themselves into the life of the wider community.
‘Realising the Vision’ has involved the land sales and the actual work on the church buildings. Part one of ‘Realising the Vision’ has been completed in the re-design of St Andrew’s, but Part Two is in progress: the re-design of St Mark’s. This includes building a good sized church hall with even greater potential for ‘serving the community’. We are living in an in-between stage: Part One complete; Part Two in progress. You can see the detailed architectural plans for St Mark's Church here.