A good news narrative

At a time when we hear so much in the media about the decline of the Church – how Christianity is irrelevant, how misguided the people of faith are – I thought it would be good to demonstrate how one church, St Michael & All Angels, Summertown is bucking that trend. There is no magic ingredient to numerical growth or the deeper development of the faith-life, only that God is allowed to be God in our community of faith. People are welcomed to experience God in the beauty of worship, in the quality of welcome and in the desire for pastoral care and wellbeing of all those living in, working in or visiting our parish. This is the shared commitment of the whole church, an every-member ministry. This is a celebration which flows from the devotion, prayer and vulnerability of all those who cross the threshold of faith at St Michael’s.


  • At interview, Gavin revealed his vision for the parish. St Michael’s was to become a threshold church, opening its doors to welcome the local community, becoming more inclusive and hospitable. Gavin is licensed to St Michael’s in September 2011.
  • In June 2012, the PCC were tasked to re-imagine the future of our church and parish. A mission statement and values statement were created to act as a template for decison making. This is the criteria used to shape our mission, action and organizational change.
  • In the summer of 2014, we undertook a parish audit, At the Heart of It. Its objective was to provide evidence about the church community’s core values, its needs and aspirations regarding church fabric, and how we may or may not make a difference in the local community. The results of this survey gave the PCC a mandate for strategic change.

                                                         2010              2015      % INCREASE

Electoral Roll                                 132              155                     17%

Pledged Giving                            £44602      £54735                23%

Ave. Adult Sunday Attendance *     52               74                   42%

Ave. Child Sunday Attendance *       9                15                   66%

Christmas Day (all ages) *             116               167                  44%

Easter Day (all ages) *                    88                156                  77%               * (10am service only)

“Holy Spirit, you breathe upon what is fragile. and you rekindle the fire that was smouldering within us, to such an extent that even the nights of our heart can become the dawning of a new day.” (Brother Roger of Taizé)

Author: Gavin Knight

The Revd Gavin Knight has been the Vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown in the Oxford Diocese since September 2011. After serving his title at St Alphege, Solihull, Gavin became parish priest of St Andrew's Fulham Fields in London. He moved to Wales in 2005 becoming Chaplain to Monmouth School. He is married to Jo, a clinical psychologist, and they have three sons.