Rectors Report from the Easter General Vestry 2020
Updated: Nov 2, 2020
THANK YOU to both congregations for making me so welcome in the parish since my arrival at the end of May 2019. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to visit you in your homes and am starting to get to know you better. I am looking forward to the years ahead and all that God has planned for our parish.
The Covid 19 Pandemic and associated restrictions on our normal lives have meant so many things that we planned to do this year have been cancelled or postponed. However I have been encouraged by the congregation and community mutual support given to each other. The People of Israel went into Exile after the Babylonian conquest. It was during the time of Exile that many of the Old Testament scriptures were written down and kept safe – having previously been handed down orally or written in bits and pieces but not collated. The Exile was a time of soul searching for the Jews and when they returned to Israel they came back stronger and more faithful and fervent in their desire to live for God. In some small way the Church has experienced a short Exile of its own and is going to be in semi exile for several months more. My prayer is that we will come back together in due course over the coming year a stronger, more faithful and fervent people to enjoy each other’s company and the presence of the Lord in our times of worship.
A special thank you to those who have retired or are retiring this year.
Florence McElhinney and Margaret Walbridge for serving the church so faithfully as Church Wardens
Elizabeth Smyth, John Jones and Isobel McCollam after many years of service on the Select Vestry.
Alan Walbridge after many years as Webmaster, GDPR contact and member of the Safeguarding Trust Panel.
Thank you to the following for all their work for the Lord and His church in our Parish over the past year and often many years:-
Stephen McCollam and Michael Cooke, our other two church wardens.
Karl Egli and Chris Lundy our Glebe Wardens
Andrew Kane our Treasurer
Lauren Glass our Secretary
Heather and Brian our Sacristans
Clare and Sophie our Sunday Club leaders and Ellen Clarke for her wonderful Nativity Play
Anne Cinnamon our Community Lunch organiser and the large team of volunteers
Ann Kerr for organising the World Day of Prayer and Pause for Prayer.
Helen Sheldon and Ann Kerr for organising the Ladies Fellowship
Joanne Flynn, Jonny Laverty and Tony Gordon for leading the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.
The Choir for faithfully turning up for practice and leading us in our worship at St Patrick’s every Sunday before covid restrictions came into being.
Pat Maxwell for her years of service as Organist of St Patrick’s and her work with the children’s orchestra.
Denise Martin for taking choir practices and playing the organ in the last half of the month at St Patrick’s and Sally Cotter for playing the organ at St John’s.
Jeanette Egli for her poems
Alan Walbridge for all his role as Choir Librarian, collecting and distributing the C of I Gazette, for his help with all things technical, GDPR, Safeguarding Trust, setting up and publishing our new website and being webmaster.
Gail McCoy for working so hard as Parish Administrator especially during the vacancy.
Susan Bennett for filling the role of Parish Administrator after Gail and Alli Steen for applying and taking on this task during Covid lockdown.
Dorothy Gaffney for organising the Harvest Lunch and pre-service refreshments on the Family Service Sundays
Daphne Lucas for distributing Bible Study notes
Leah Lynas for organising the Christian Aid collections
Anne Cooke for distributing all the Harvest donations to the Simon Community and organising the NSPCC contact.
David Mawhinney and Brian Lynas for cutting the grass in the graveyards.
Carole Williamson for being Co-Leader of the Youth Fellowship
Isobel McCollam for looking after the Free Will Envelopes, co-coordinating the use of the Parish Hall and being Secretary of the Indoor Bowling Club
Catherine Michael for co-ordinating our Remembrance Service with the Scouting Organisations
Peter McCausland for taking services and preaching.
The other members of Select Vestry 2019:- Mandy Brobyn, Anne Cinnamon, Ann Kerr, and Denise Martin.
I think it is important that people see how many jobs there are involved in running a church! I hope I have not left anyone out and apologise if I have done so. Everyone gets on with their task without any fanfare so I could easily omit someone by mistake!
I would like to list the highlights of the past year so that we do not forget the good in the midst of the difficult.
The Prize Giving Family Service in June 2019
The generous donations to the India Christian Mission Centre
The Bible Study group
Teen Blast 2
The Youth Fellowship
The Community Lunch
The Hog Roast
The Harvest services
The Harvest Lunch
The Remembrance service with the uniformed organisations
The Nativity Play
The Donegore Christmas Music event with Phoenix Choir
The generous NSPCC donations and collection for Kind Fund
The Ladies Fellowship
The joint Alpha Course with the Presbyterians
The Rural Deanery monthly evening contemporary services
The Rural Deanery Ash Wednesday service in St Patrick’s.
The Baptisms of Lily Glass and Callum McKeever
The St John’s social evening
The Enewsletter coming out every Friday during lockdown
The return to worship in church in August
The Marriage of Helen Cooke to Tom Brann in St John’s
I will finish by sharing this verse from the prophet Jeremiah who was given this by the Lord to write in his letter to the Jewish Exiles in Babylon:- For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
I believe the Lord has a plan for us as a church to continue to be blessed by his Presence and to continue to be a blessing to our neighbourhood in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
May the Lord Bless you.