Firstly, we have now had our parish lunch at All Hallows’ which saw the launch of our stewardship campaign. I want to reiterate what I said then and in the weeks leading up to it in my January sermons; I’m hugely grateful for those of you who have been faithful givers, often over many years. And actually, while I’m thanking givers at All Hallows’, I’d like to extend the same grateful thanks to those of you who have so generously given to support the life and ministry of St Edmund’s Church. It’s thanks to all of you in both churches that the buildings are able to be maintained in good order, and, even more importantly, that each congregation can carry on its life and witness to the love of God in each parish. Most of you in All Hallows’ will, by now, have received your stewardship pack that has information on how resources are used and an invitation to prayerfully reflect on what God is asking you to contribute going forward.
Secondly, we are embarking on changes in the style of service at All Hallows’. We are attempting to create a new style of service where members of the two previous congregations – one traditional and one informal – can all feel welcomed, valued and included. This is no small task. So far, as the stewardship campaign has got under way, I’ve held the primary responsibility for trying to craft worship that is genuinely inclusive of all. As we move forward with this, I am determined to ensure that I do not hold that responsibility too tightly. It’s a task that needs to be shared. I’m grateful for the really appreciative and constructive feedback so far. We need to begin to work together much more intentionally on how to re-shape our worship. I would welcome suggestions as to how we can take this conversation forward. Is this exploration something to incorporate in the services themselves or do we need additional opportunities to come together outside of our services. What do you think?
Thirdly, though we have officially welcomed Edward Agyeman at our Advent Sunday service and commissioned him for his work in the parish, it is helpful, I think, to take the opportunity here to celebrate the start of his ministry here. I hope we will have an introduction from Edward himself in next month’s Heron. For now, however, a word on what he’s doing. Edward is a student on the MCYM BA Degree in Contextual Ministry and Practical Theology (more information can be found on the St John’s College website here: https://stjohns-nottm.ac.uk/hmsec/youth-children-s-ministry/courses/undergraduate-courses/). Edward will have some involvement in our worship, in work with Lady Bay Primary School and with Framework. His main focus, however, will be pastoral care. He and I will be working together to develop his already extensive skills in this area. Let our pastoral care co-ordinator, Yvonne Gimson, know if you would welcome a visit yourself.