Blog from the vicarage – 9 April 2021

A regular message from St Peter’s Vicar, Rev John Rainer

Click here for this week’s noticesheet

Many thanks to everyone involved in getting St Peter’s ready for our Easter celebrations last weekend, including all who contributed to online material (which is still available to view on Pete’s Player here if you missed any of it.)

This time last year we were making preparations for our Annual Church Meeting when the church had to be closed in the first lockdown. In the end we weren’t able to hold this meeting until November, and even then it had to take place online. This year we are hoping that the easing of restrictions will allow us to hold the Annual Meeting in church on Sunday 25th April, more in line with the usual timing.

Annual Parochial Meetings may not always seem like crucial moments in church life, but they are important for many reasons. The election of Churchwardens and PCC members, and the opportunity to thank those stepping down from such roles, the holding to account of those entrusted with our money, and the opportunity to reflect on how we are pursuing our vision of a town changed by the power of God, are all of major significance. Furthermore we now know that with clergy vacancies at both St Paul’s and Windhill, we are looking at key changes in church leadership in the town as we seek to emerge from the current pandemic. How do we respond to this? And then we will also have a chance to assess where we are in the project to replace our Hall roofs, which is already progressing in the hands of a working group.

Each year there are a number of reports, some required by law,  which are circulated in advance. These will appear on a separate section of the church website in the coming few days, partly in order to save printing costs and a great deal of paper – as our new Environment Policy suggests! If you really do need a printed copy of these you can request one from Judith in the Church Office.

Three Parochial Church Council (PCC) members – Elizabeth Wightman, Andy Thorlby and Gemma Richards – will reach the end of their elected terms at the Meeting. Andy will be standing down as he has completed two terms, the others may choose to seek nomination for re-election for another three years. We also have two vacancies for two years carried over from last year, and a vacancy on the Deanery Synod (The Deanery Synod is the next layer of church government above parish level and it’s members are also automatically members of the PCC), so potentially six vacancies. As we have seen, PCC members will have a particularly important role in helping to set the vision of St Peter’s for the foreseeable future. So please pray. Who would YOU like to see doing this? Could you approach them and nominate them? Or could it be you? Nomination forms for these roles will be available in church from this coming Sunday and on the web page. (Note there are different forms for PCC members, Deanery Synod members and churchwardens and make sure you get the right one!)

There will also be an election of churchwardens at the meeting – churchwardens are only elected for one year periods and need to be re-nominated and elected at each annual meeting. Remember that Karen had planned to step down from the churchwarden role at last year’s AGM. We are very grateful that she has continued as our second warden by default because no one else stood for election with Hazel at the annual meeting in November but this responsibility needs to pass to someone else whom God is calling! Please pray about this really important leadership role, that the right people will hear and answer God’s call.

Finally, we do our best to ensure that there is time to ask questions of church staff and office holders. Perhaps if you have very detailed questions about some of the financial figures in the Accounts, it may be best either to discuss your question with Mike Moss or myself ahead of the meeting; otherwise we’ll seek to be as clear as we can during the meeting.

There will be a lot to do over the coming months as we work towards reopening St Peter’s fully. We will face the understandable temptation to focus on the need to repair and refurbish the roofs of our Halls – however, I think we must look beyond this, and seize a God-given opportunity to operate differently whilst holding on to the values which have served us well over the past few years. I look forward to sharing that debate with many of you, both on the PCC and more generally.

With love and prayers,

John Rainer

God of love,
turn our hearts to your ways;
and give us peace.
Deliver us from a world without justice
and a future without mercy;
in your mercy, establish justice,
and in your justice, remember the mercy
revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lord Jesus, be with those whose week never seems to start, because there is no difference for them in the days. Every day is the same.
Lord, we pray for those who have no joy in being able to do something new; for those whose routine is so rigid that anything out of the ordinary is challenging and frightening.
In their routine may they find you. In the care provided by others, may they find your love. In the work done for them may they find your healing hands.
For you are our carer, our healer and our sustainer, and in your name we pray. Amen