New Year, New Starts?!
Regular readers of my column in Focus will hopefully be familiar with the fact that as a church we have been engaging with the Mission Action Planning process since the middle of last year, and perhaps folk will remember that we were working towards a Vision Day on 21st November when it was our aim to come up with at least the beginnings of a Vision Statement that would guide us in the direction we thought God was wanting us to head for the next few years.
That Vision Day was most ably led by Rev’d David Macha and we really felt like we moved forward in beginning to discern that vision – but we didn’t get as far as we hoped in terms of a tangible vision statement. However by the time you have read this article, the PCC will have met and we will hopefully have been able to put some more flesh on the bones, so to speak – so please don’t think that the process has stopped – it is just taking a little longer than we had anticipated – but it is vitally important we hear from God and get this right rather than rush things, so thank you for your patience – and please keep praying. In the final analysis I do believe the New Year will bring us the new start that we believe God has got planned for us.
Speaking of new starts, on 7th January we will hopefully be interviewing candidates to fill the vacant team vicar’s post – and the great news is that Bishop James had a re-think and has agreed that after all this can be a full time post. This is obviously a critical appointment for the parish of St John’s and St Luke’s, so please keep the candidates and the interview panel (made up of the Bishop, the acting Archdeacon Simon Cowling, the two PCC reps Sarah Shepherd and Noel Duke and myself). I for one am really hoping that the successful candidate will bring a set of complementary gifts to those of the rest of the team including our new curate, Ruth Donegan-Cross, who will begin her ministry among us in July – yes, another new start! Ruth will be writing a piece for Focus next month so I won’t say any more about her here except to say we are very pleased and excited she has chosen this parish to serve her curacy in.
Then, before I close, I want to tell you about an opportunity for people to make a new or fresh start in their lives. After the February half term, probably on Monday 22nd Feb though this date is yet to be confirmed, our latest Alpha group will begin. This is a great opportunity over 11 sessions for people to find out about and explore the claims of Christianity for themselves; and certainly four of the people who completed our last Alpha were helped sufficiently in their journey of faith to make the decision to be confirmed by Bishop James back in November. So maybe you would like to explore more for yourself, or you know somebody who you think might be interested in doing so. If you do, why not pray about it and then if you feel it is right, ask them to come along – and offer to accompany them if need be!
Finally, can I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy, prosperous and Christ-centred 2016!