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Where do we go from here?

From Ian Byfield, PCC Vice Chair

So here we are in an Interregnum – or Vacancy – as it is becoming more widely termed. The certainty is that we will not get a vicar. There will be an interim appointment of a priest-in-charge initially for three years, with the possibility (quite likely) of an extension. This is because there is a shortage of clergy and the Diocese has to work out the urgent changes needed to cope with that. The end result is likely to be that our new priest will eventually have other duties to perform elsewhere.

But in the meantime, we will not be standing still as a church. The Covid Pandemic is hampering activity somewhat but it will not be an excuse to stagnate. Already, our young people’s work has restarted, using social media, and we are planning activities for as soon as daily living gets back to somewhere like normal. Our Standing Committee meets every week by video conference to make sure there are strong hands on the tiller, and with the PCC to look forward through confused times at the short term future of All Saints’.

Looking back, even though I had been involved with the Welcome Garden Project for some time, I am amazed at what we have all done in God’s name to create such a wonderful place. There was so much hard work, exasperation, elation, support from so many people and so much creativity.

I would personally like to thank everyone who contributed in any way such as donating, organising and attending fund raising events, and working physically – and most importantly all those wonderful people who were so supportive of everything we were doing. It is invidious to name names but there are those who have gone not the extra mile but the extra hundred miles for this wonderful addition to our Vision and I am particularly grateful to them. We look forward impatiently to the time we can make good use of it.

I want to say how much we will miss those great servants of this place who have died during this time, thinking particularly of Leyland Smith for his widespread work and dedication, Mark Earnshaw for his encouragement and wise words and Maureen Carroll, the Queen of Hugs..

There are changes to our worship, with the addition of on-line services and different routines for our Sunday activity with Communion on all but one Sunday a month.

So now we are going through the biggest change in this period, from one priest to another. I was thinking about Steve Lees’s legacy. The first thing that popped into my mind were those shapes – remember? For some they became a little tedious and began to lose their effectiveness, but actually they led to some real developments. They made us think about our relationships: with God in terms of our discipleship and development of faith; with each other in the congregation; and with People Out There.

This certainly resulted in progress in terms of personal commitment, and the introduction of Clusters – while not fulfilling its full potential –  brought us into the idea of forming groups to carry out particular tasks and projects – a forerunner to the Welcome Garden group.

But for me the most significant change from Steve’s influence was the “Out” element of the Triangle which made us think much more about looking out from the church.

Therefore, I would encourage everyone to keep praying and thinking about things we could do and how we could all be involved in continuing Vision of helping everyone Find God with Family and Friends.

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