A letter from the Rector about our vision:

 

I’m writing to commend to you our vision for a
Families Minister to serve the parish.

Why do we seek a Families Minister?
We seek a Families Minister to help us nurture faith in Christ and to make disciples.

Let’s explore this through Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5000 – and then offering the Bread of Life!

We’ve known some great successes in connecting with young people of whom there are roughly 5000 in our parish! But on the whole we have struggled to make those connections count in nurturing faith and discipleship; ie, going beyond the crumbs to feeding on the Bread of Life!

Each summer we connect with up to 100 teenagers through our sailing club, Junior choir and Breakthrough youth club; we are known by 1500 pupils in the primary schools; we enjoy Baby & Toddlers, Messy Church and Sunday Groups. We achieve so much through a faithful team of volunteers – but a huge deficit remains between what we do and nurturing faith & discipleship.

The young people in the community are the 5000 of our parish.
Five thousand children and teenagers for whom the church is… irrelevant!
Even assuming we’re not just boring or a joke to them, for most teens it would be embarrassing to be known to ‘go to church’ – not to speak of the comments they’d face on social media!

Yet we know how church belonging is great for families even though when at secondary school many stop coming. Perhaps other activities take over – or must we face a truth that our discipling of teens is not resourced or adequate for the task in their digital age?

After feeding the five thousand, Jesus went on to proclaim “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6v35) – so of course Jesus wants to feed the 5000 with this bread of life through faith and discipleship.
This is Why we seek a Families Minister.

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What is a Families Minister?

As a key member of staff our Families Minister will be passionate about faith and discipleship in:
Leading and growing our children’s, families and youth ministries
Co-ordinating and supporting our amazing volunteers and their activities
Seeking new opportunities to reach out to the community

The Families Minister will have a natural rapport with families – listening, knowing and communicating with them and with the team of volunteers. They’ll keep children’s, families and youth needs at the heart of our mission and worship; and they’ll support Tim, our Pioneer Minister in Leesland as appropriate and, through listening, they’ll help us establish new missional initiatives.
The Families Minister will be the key leader of our staff to oversee our children’s, families and youth ministries. A bit like our Curate is growing our pastoral teams in serving older members.

Not only is this a significant role,
nor is it just a strategic role,
it has reached the point where it is an imperative role.

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In our church buildings we’ve sought to release space to be a community which serves and worships.
In the Parish Centre regeneration we’re seeking to release future space to serve our wider community.
In the Families Minister we’re seeking to release time to help us serve families and youth effectively.
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How can we share in this vision? By Prayer and through Loaves & Fishes.

Please pray for this exciting post. Until such time as general income can afford we must make appeal for special funding by those who are prepared to sponsor the role by pledging special extra giving for at least the first two years of the job. This is the offering of our ‘five loaves and two fishes’ with thanksgiving to the Lord!

Hence the PCC seek pledges for the first two years of the post from those who gladly share the vision. Pledges are welcome at any time this October in the box in St.Mary’s, or to the office. But we’d be especially grateful to collect them in our offerings on Sunday 29th October, as a special day to pray and give thanks for this vision. Then on 14th November the PCC will consider a job which is proportionate to the number of hours that can be afforded by the pledges. We’d then start redeeming pledges each month next Spring when we pray that the job will start.

Will you consider making a monthly pledge towards this vital role for our future?

I’m afraid we are talking about additional giving on top of regular giving to the church.
Also circumstances will mean that not all of us who want to will be able to offer money in our ‘bread and fish’ basket – but we can offer our prayers and support in other ways.

We are talking of significant giving because time, including the ‘on costs’ would cost about £13.00 per hour. Therefore 12 hours per week is £8,112 per annum whilst 25 hours is £16,900 and so on.

Please see the Families Minister Flyer & Pledge Form to make your pledge – thank you.

Whatever hours our pledged ‘bread & fishes’ afford, we pray and trust that our gifts would release someone in the mission of the church in a way we have not witnessed or experienced here before.

It is a bold move – but one which is making such a difference in parishes where they have made this a priority in mission.
This is our mission priority – not only for those who love to see the gospel preached, but also for those who’d love to see a church in the future representing all generations.

So, can you please pray towards sharing in this vision?
A vision of faith and discipleship for young people who, unlike senior citizens, do not have any grasp of the gospel or understanding of Christ whatsoever.

Does Jesus want to feed them with the Bread of Life?
Through our pledged giving for a Families Minister can we offer the ‘loaves and fishes’ ?
If it is his plan can we seek and trust the Lord for this miracle?

With my thanks for reading this and for your prayers as, in our endeavours and by God’s grace, we seek first the Lord’s kingdom and his righteousness to offer light and life to younger generations.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Andy Norris