Vicars Letter - May 2017

JEREMY’S JOTTINGS

Dear Friends

As I write this article, it’s Easter Sunday lunchtime. We have just had a tremendous Easter all age communion service in church with hardly a spare seat in the building. The cubs, scouts and beavers, and other children, have enthusiastically joined in our worship and waved flags. We created a beautiful floral cross. There was a real buzz about the place. And that is good news, based on our resurrection hope that Jesus has risen from the dead.

The challenge, of course, is to make our worship good news for all, both regulars and visitors, every Sunday of the year, and not just at Easter. Not that it has to be upbeat all the time but it does have to be connecting with people. And that chimes very well with our purpose as a team, which we have recently revisited as core leaders. We have said that we want to in the business of ‘connecting people with God’ through each of our churches here in West Warrington. We do that not only through our individual activities as churches, in terms of our worship and mission, but also through what we do together as team. It’s a real delight and encouragement to know that about 60 folks from across our four churches will be going away together this month for our team weekend. I hope and pray that it will be a real blessing to those who attend and help to strengthen our bonds as churches. It’s also wonderful to know that a number of members of our churches are involved with Open the Book teams across six local schools, bringing bible stories to life each week for children who otherwise might not be familiar with them. And it’s great that we have recently been able to run a Team Alpha course, connecting or reconnecting people with God who are within or on the fringes of our church life. These are all good news stories.

But good news is not limited to West Warrington. With the appointment of Rev. Paul Wilson, the rector of St.Elphin’s, to be our area dean, we are now in the process of formulating a new strategy for how we work more closely together as churches in our deanery. This is not about stopping the good things we do as individual churches or as a team, but it is about recognising what things we can do even better if we join forces. So, for example, the diocese is currently recruiting for a new Vicar for St.Margaret’s, Orford and part of their role will be taking a lead in the development of discipleship and leadership across all our deanery churches. Growing disciples, and not just church attenders, is perhaps one of the greatest challenges we face in the Church of England today, and so it makes sense to help one another out where we can. 

And, on a diocesan level, it was good news to hear that the diocese have recently been given £1m from the Church Commissioners to support the work of its pioneering Joshua Centre, based at the cathedral, who will be helping churches to multiply congregations. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could grow a new congregation from St.Mary’s and indeed from each of our team churches, and if that were to happen in every church in our diocese? It would certainly go a long way to help realise our diocesan vision of a bigger church making a bigger difference, or as Bishop Paul often puts it, ‘more people knowing Jesus with more justice in our communities and world’. 

Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

Jeremy Tear, Pioneer Team Rector

 

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