PCC members were recently asked for their views on the question of moving our parish boundaries, so that the area covered by the parish of St Andrew’s North Swindon and the area covered by the parish of Haydon Wick might be more equal in size.
St John’s is one of the smallest parishes in the town in terms of area, whereas St Andrew North Swindon is one of the largest, in terms of area, population size and the number of schools within it.
It is not surprising that the last vicar of St Andrews, Caroline, encouraged the Diocese to look again at this imbalance. Discussions on this subject have since taken place with both PCCs.
As yet no specific new boundary line has been drafted or agreed. However Thamesdown Drive is one very obvious dividing line.
Our PCC was unanimously in favour making our two parishes more equal in size when this was suggested to us. It is good to know that the idea of a boundary change has recently met with similar approval by the PCC of North Swindon, despite the fact that it would mean that St Francis’s school became part of our parish.
We are still at an early stage, but we have some important discussions behind us.
I am letting you know about this now because it is better for our congregation to learn that these changes are being discussed through official church channels, rather than as a rumour.
It is something we should be praying about as a church. There are thousands of young families in this area and we want to partner with St Andrew’s church and St Francis school in making the gospel known. The task is a huge one.
If this boundary change were to take place, it would be the biggest change in our parish life since we became independent of the Team Ministry of Rodbourne Cheney nearly 20 years ago. That was when we became a parish in our own right. Not only would it even up the geographical size of both parishes but it would open up many more opportunities for mission. We want to be ready for those.
If you have any concerns or questions, please do address them to one of your PCC members whose photos are displayed near the door. They can then raise them at PCC, and when formal consultations take place.
This could prove to be an exciting new chapter in the life of our church.