After getting my mind round what was in the wings when I left and what the Church Council Minutes identified while I was away, and after consultation with the Parochial Church Council meeting since I have been back, this is the revised list for the three District Church Councils next month of the six things on which we suggest we focus in the New Year; the first three headings are the first three lines of the parish's Mission Statement.
1. To help our local communities flourish
Our first focus is not on ourselves. Immediate new tasks and opportunities include following through the process of letting the Bishop King Centre, exploring becoming a ’Fair Trade Parish’, and being part of a project to build community capacity in the Yarborough Ward; through these and through our existing activities and contacts we need to attend to the way continued process of cuts impact on people locally so that we can see where our own limited capacity and that of others might best be directed.
2. To help Christian people develop and grow
Our second focus is on our hope in God - celebrating and being renewed by faith. Immediate plans are for sessions feeding back from the Rector’s Sabbatical (in January and February), following the diocesan Lent Course on faith at work (in March and April), and planning an inspirational Parish Weekend (on 7th and 8th June). We need also to look at the lay ministry training being offered by the Minister to see if it relates to our need to strengthen our Shared Ministry Team, and give attention to how the present members want to shape their time and ministry.
3. To find new ways to witness
We need to develop a plan to take to the Parish Weekend which identifies which outreach activities we want to prioritise, whether a fresh offer to local schools should be part of this, and whether a fresh offer of ‘sacred space’ for adults should be part of this; the Shared Ministry Team has looked at how the First Sunday and Last Saturday Things might be improved, but we need to look at whether either is a successful model, and where feedback from Kairos, Quiet Days and our questionnaire point us. This may be a foundation for a new ‘Mission Action Plan’ for the diocese.
4. Securing the future of St George’s congregation
A leaflet will go to all houses in the village, Christmas attenders and other contacts, and responses will be considered at the DCC on 15th January, so we can begin to assess the chances of electing new officers at the AGM and the viability of the finances and regular worship as the diocese asks us to categorise each church’s use and viability.
5. Securing St Michael’s plans for funding work on its building and organ
We need to assess the responses so far to the request to identify the £19 000 needed over and above normal income and expenditure for work on the building and organ in the five years 2013-17 (£60 000 is needed in all – we plan to use £10 000 of reserves, £5 000 p.a. of normal income and we have had £6 000 initial donations) and begin to put these projects in place.
6. Securing the future of St Nicolas’ building
We need to develop and follow through a single strategy - first by seeking further structural and funding advice in relation to the false start on an appeal for a new heating system some time ago, the set back in the failure of a funding application for a churchyard project, recent advice about the state of the south aisle roof, and the possible need for a second opinion about the south aisle crack.
The picture is from the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.