Vicars Letter - June 2017


Dear Friends

I have recently returned from our first ever Team Weekend away together. It was great to have nearly 60 members from across our four churches meet at the Glendower Hotel in St.Anne’s for three days of food, fellowship, teaching and worship. Here follows some of the highlights for me which Iwanted to share with you all.

Firstly, the teaching given by Steve McGanity, the Vicar ofChrist Church, Southport. Steve is an able and gifted communicator who helped to bring alive our theme of the Body of Christ. He did this through three sessions. In the first session, he focused on how we are called to unity as brothers and sisters in Christ. He likened the church to being one of those seaside pictures where there is a body and space for someone to put their head through. And the question he posed was if Christ is the head of the church, do we match as the rest of his body? In other words, do our lives reflect who and what Christ is calling us to be? Steve reflected that in his experience unity is hard work and yet the church is called to be a place of radical unity in which are divisions are set aside so that we can be welcoming to all people. He also reflected that we need to develop unity based around our diversity, not only within our individual churches but as a team. And, of course, that’s not easy! In the second session, he talked about the Church, the Body of Christ, as being engaged in mission. He invited us to think about how our team reflects the five marks of mission, marks which I have spoken about previously at St.Mary’s. He also reflected on how mission can be seen not as a task to do, but as a lifestyle to be lived. Tertullian, one of the early Church fathers (or teachers) said: ‘See how these Christians love one another’. It was their lifestyle that drew others to Christ and was deeply attractive. What sort of a community are we modelling to the world, he wondered? In his final session, Steve spoke about the importance of discerning what our gifts are and using them in Christ’s service. The task of clergy, he said, was not to do everything but to help others to find their role in the life of the Church. He then talked about finding our shape – which is a mnemonic for our spiritual gifts, our heart, our abilities, our personality and our experience – how do those things influence what we do? Indeed, he talked about not only what is God calling us to do, but who is God calling us to. Much food for thought.

Speaking of food, we were extremely well catered for at the hotel, including a range of diets. As a vegetarian (or should I say pescetarian!), I was pleasantly impressed by the food on offer. Mealtimes were a good opportunity to get to know others, as were the coffee breaks, and drinks from the bar in the evening. There was I felt a relaxed feel to the weekend, the sessions not starting until 10am in the morning and the whole of Saturday afternoon off, for walks to the promenade or having an ice cream on the beach.

And finally, there was the worship at each of our sessions finishing up with a communion service on the Sunday morning. We were very blessed to have such a talented pool of musicians and singers to lead us in some inspiring hymns and songs. 

Interested? We are hoping to book another weekend next year, so watch this magazine for details or have a word with George Jones, who organised the weekend with great care and efficiency.

Yours in His Service, Jeremy Tear, Pioneer Team Rector

Subpages (1): Rectors Letter