A LETTER TO ALL FROM THE RECTOR
Greetings to all who worship in the church across the parish and a warm welcome to those who’ve recently come – we’re glad you’re here.
Although the summer may have been one of the warmest it has also brought change for many people and indeed the church. To start with in 2018 and continuing through the summer we’ve lost some very dear and longstanding members. Their memory remains special to us as we thank the Lord for all they’d shared in our community whilst being mindful of their loved ones as we continue to pray for them in there sorrow and loss.
Times of change also affect those who are needing to hand over the ministries in which they’ve faithfully served for years such as the catering team who provided the valuable monthly parish lunches (with our thanks Carol with Margaret, Rosemary, Norma & Pam). Whilst we’re grateful to Meg Hutton-Dutton who’s just handing over chairing the Flower Guild to Sue Craven after her years of creative leadership.
Yet there remain so many people who are busy ‘volunteering’ in such a wide range of activities – we identified 275 folk last autumn – without whom the life, witness and service of our community would not be possible; thank you so very much for all you continue to give of yourselves for us and the Lord in so many diverse ways which express your many gifts and talents.
Then of course ministries continue to grow and so it may be that some folk would value and be able to join our ‘bereavement visiting team’ or care home ‘visiting team’ or one of our Sunday ‘welcome and hospitality’ teams etc. Such ministries in the church always value new members.
In addition we are six months into our new Families Minister role in which we’ve been pleased to welcome Jo Northey who has already helped confidence grow among families and their children. Thank you to all who’s giving has allowed our vision for this role to be realised.
Our church’s ministry in the name of Jesus will continue through each of you in an active autumn ahead in the parish. A look at the weekly pew sheet illustrates just how much is going on in the life of our community. It is diverse, wonderful and gives us much for which to be thankful in the life of our parish. Hence I hope you’ll be able to make the most of the many opportunities for gathering, praying, serving, inviting and worship which are on offer week by week.
This autumn some key moments surround our Africa Partnerships leading to Michaelmas & Harvest; special commemorations 100 years after the armistice with poppies around the churchyard; Parish Centre Regeneration events to enjoy and planning decisions to be made; and of course the Christmas Tree Festival. The autumn will quickly pass!
It will also pass quickly for Leesland Neighbourhood Church (LNC) which has a growing impact in its community surrounding St.Faith’s. Please pray for Revd Tim Watson and Clare as a new faith community emerges through their leadership of LNC. Their busy programme can be seen on the ‘LeeslandNeighbourhoodChurch’ Facebook page.
We are not offering new courses for adults this autumn. Instead we are focussing on our small groups – our Home Bible Fellowship Groups (Home Groups for short!). The name gives away their purpose – to meet in homes for fellowship around the Bible. This of course incorporates friendship, pastoral support, prayer, eating together, socials, serving, growing and more. In fact each group is unique and so responds to the members in terms of its programme.
Over 60 people have participated in our courses over the last couple of years, but in not offering any courses this autumn we are hoping to encourage folk to join a Home Group. We already have five groups which have been long established with over 50 people regularly attending them. These groups would welcome new members along with two wholly new groups.
So I write to you as a worshipper to encourage you to join a Home Group where I trust you will find blessing and encouragement in your life and faith with people who will care for you and you for them in friendship and regular warm fellowship.
There are few rules besides each group setting its own boundaries and courtesies but centrally we would encourage the membership of just one Home Group. Of course some may take the rare opportunity to change from a current group whilst others will join for the first time. You’ll find that group members may attend different Sunday services (or none) and this will only enrich the groups. But please be committed to one home group and regard that as your principal place of ‘belonging’ and being known within the whole church of our parish.
Over the page you’ll find details of our home groups. Even if you have an ‘informal’ chat with the leaders can I ask that you make your request to join a group through the Home Group team of Diana Dow (Reader), Chris Richardson (Curate) or me (details at the end). This is just in case, for instance, 20 folk say they want to join the same group which of course would not be viable – so we do need to give some oversight to group formation in liaison with the leaders at a time of such growth and change. Even so, let us know which group you would like to join so that we can put you in touch with the leaders who will then give you details of their venues, plans and invite you along. Or if we should find any of the groups don’t have extra capacity then we’ll certainly be in touch offering other or even wholly new options.
In addition to seven Home Groups we also hope to encourage a new network among twenties and thirties. If you’re in that age group then how would you like to meet? Of course the regular groups are there for you but if you wish to explore a 20s-30s network then Libby and I would like to invite you to an informal supper at our home on Friday 12th October at 7.30pm in The Rectory. For catering purposes please RSVP if you’d like to come (dietary requirements?). Don’t worry – Libby and I don’t personally qualify for any network which may arise – but in calling you together we hope to facilitate the opportunity for you to create your own relevant fellowship/socials in the church (even if you decide it’s all communicated through What’s App!).
So, through all the joys and sorrows of the year so far, I pray that the Lord may lead us through an autumn of growing in confidence in our faith, discipleship and ministry – and that the Home Groups will be a source of rich blessing for many in our community.
May the Lord’s peace and grace be with us all,
Yours in Him,
BIBLE FELLOWSHIP HOME GROUPS AUTUMN 2018
Tuesday Evening Weekly: Western Way
Leaders – Doug/Amanda Wray & Libby Norris
Wednesday Afternoon Fortnightly: Various homes
Leaders – Diana Dow & Sue Strong
Wednesday Evening Fortnightly: Women/Various homes
Leader – Sarah Savery
Thursday Morning Fortnightly: Parish Centre
Leaders – Diana Dow & Shirley Coleman
Thursday Evening Fortnightly: Repton Close
Leaders – Pam & Bob Green
Thursday Evening Weekly: Peel Road
Leaders – Kim & Anne Beazley
Friday Morning Weekly: Babies welcome/Solent Way
Leader – Marie Anthony
Would you like to join a group? Then please contact either:
Andy Norris: 02392 503308 or 02392 503308
Chris Richardson: 02392 580551
Diana Dow: 02392 528122