Saturday, January 30, 2010

Parish Changes - An Update

Early January saw sudden snow falls which plunged most parts of the country into chaos. How one of the most complex and sophisticated societies could be brought to a halt by something as small as a snow flake should make us all think. Small things that come in great numbers can cause much chaos, whether it is the little pig flu virus or the small delicate snow flakes.

One of the victims of the weather was the first of the new mid week services at St Katherines. This was a shame but we re-arranged for a later date in the month. Some of you may be wondering what effects the changes we made to service times and strategy as we started to implement “Towards a Mission Shaped Parish”.

Compared to previous years, the first 3 months saw higher attendance if all services were included and this was with a snow hit carol service. The number of communicants were lower but only returning to numbers common a few years a go. Most pleasing were the high number of people attending church who do not normally attend.

Numbers of course, do not paint the whole picture and it has been very sad that some of the congregation find the 9:30 service too early to be able attend. The PCC was asked to consider a time between 9 and 10 am and opted for 9:30 on the advice of those receiving and giving lifts. Why it was OK one week but not later, I do not understand, particularly when the same people managed to make 9:30 services at St Katherines. Clearly the journey between Wadworth and Loversall is more than one mile in peoples hearts and minds.

Given the levels of persecution that some Christians in the world face, times of service seem to be futile points of conflict. When people walk miles to attend services, the distance of a mile should be a humbling distance. Given that in some parts of the world, members of a congregation are missing not because they cannot have a service at their time and place, but because they are in jail, hospital or murdered for their faith.

I also need to slay a few myths that are circulating about the reasons why we are implementing a “Mission Shaped Parish”. The document that was discussed by PCC can be read for yourself either by downloading a copy or by requesting one from me in writing.
Myth 1: I have heard it said that the changes have been made because we need to save money. THIS IS NOT CORRECT
Myth 2: The Vicar is too lazy to do 2 services on a Sunday morning. Of all the accusations this seems the most ridiculous. Those who know me know that the least of my sins is laziness. SO THIS IS NOT CORRECT EITHER
Myth 3: The Vicar intends to close St Katherine church. This cannot be further from the truth, the changes have been undertaken to sustain St Katherine and make services more accessible to greater parts of the community.

I have no regrets over the changes that have been implemented, I am disappointed in the behaviour of some members. All I will say is that come and join us in the many services that still take place at St Katherines and help us tell the stories of Jesus to new people.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow, toilets and other things

The heating is now working very well at St John's

The week has been very disrupted by the snow this week. We had to cancel the Epiphany service on Wednesday. We will arrange another mid week communion towards the end of January.

Many still turned out to clean out the area behind the organ and the at the back of church. I can now for the first time see how a toilet might fit into church. We also now have extensive storage space behind the organ.

The probation service have made very good progress in the first week but there is extensive scafolding in church.