The story of Lazarus has been brought to my mind
much more these last few weeks
as we have read Dethroning Mammon
Mammon being the things which take over our lives
the things we value that are of society
above the value of seeing ourselves
and each other as known,
as beloved by God..
That what we count we begin to value…
Value above being known and loved
by our creator God..
Do we live out our lives as ones known and loved
Or do we seek to gain prestige and value
through seeking our will
our way above the desire of God for us
Remember God has plans to prosper us always
and proper is not financial
prosper in this way
is to grow deeper in relationship with Jesus
To really push in
walk in his footsteps
Grow in covenant and in relationship.
so we truly live a life
where we each know ourselves
to be called, known and loved by God
every day of our lives.
We as children of God
are as the people the body of his Church
have to frame all we are and all we do
in those same values that we are valued by.
As we minister into 2017 and beyond.
we have lots to look at
lots to discern
Lots to pray about.
The new share system being one of those
as the system stands at this time
all of our reserves
everything will be gone in three years..
When we went to appeal our share allocation
Arch Deacon Bev looked at our accounts
and said ”you are unsustainable
which two buildings are you going to close?”
I dont know that is the answer
we have to discern our answer
to those among us in our communities
and in the wider world.
We have to look afresh at our buildings the sustainability of each of them
the usage of them as community spaces
and not just for an hour on a Sunday.
We have to be the ones who look wider than figures
look wider than Pounds and pennies..
and that is what we as PCC
as Church are beginning
it’s not going to be easy,
we all have things which we hold tightly
things we are precious about
The things we say
“Well if that goes, if that happens …then I’m leaving.”
This process is not one which any of us find easy
but it is necessary
necessary to see how we minister
as the body of Christ
as Church in our parish
Please bear with us, your PCC
as we with you look at ways of each of us
being part of discerning the vision
God has for us
it can seem at the moment
that nothing much is happening
But there is a lot happening
there is much praying
much discernment …. much waiting
And in the same way Jesus waited three days
before he revealed his plan for the raising of Lazarus
so we must wait and discern
for the right time
when he will make his vision for us clear
when our eyes will be opened
our bandages taken off by the revelation go God
by the understanding of others imparted to us.
None of this happens by denying the truth of our situation
or by gossiping.. colluding
the way these things happen
is to be real
is to look at the reality
and we will have to make the hard decisions
based on those realities
So what are the realities?
Well the first reality is that we are being Church
in many ways which are new
and continue to be exciting,
whilst also being Church in ways which are familiar.
A lot of what happens in our buildings
and our communities
depends on us stepping up as we are called by God
What is God calling you to
What is he shouting at you to COME OUT and do
come out and be?
We have seen the gracious response to the calling of
and Step Up
in new and familiar ways.
So to everyone involved in the ministry of the Church in our parish
however you have stepped up
or come out
Thank you to those who clean the church buildings
thank you to those who serve on PCC
thank you to Ron and to Hazel
our Church Wardens
i know this year has been difficult for you both.
Thank you to Pam
Whose hard work as treasurer is invaluable
Pam’s vision and clarity is a gift from God
it is thanks to you Pam
that we are so clear on our financial position
I know this work has been even harder this year
for you, for Lesley and for Louise
thank all you for your forbearance
My thanks to our Auditor Tony Simms,
who has now audited the books twice
We will be writing our thanks and appreciation
to Tony this week
I also need to thank Mary...
without whose able assistance and willingness
to share her ministry among us,
both I and our parish would be in a different situation...
Thank you...also To Scott, Sian, Stewart and Gillian
Who minister among us throughout the year..
Next year we look forward to having Sian with us
on a full time basis
as she takes up her formal training as an ordinand
Thanks to all those who verge at our weddings,
baptisms and funerals..
To you who set up Sunday after Sunday
To those who keep the teas and coffees going here for the walkers
And to Diana...
not just as PCC secretary...
but as parish administrator…
Or more in reality as my PA
again thank you...
the difference you make uncalcuble.
to the work of the Church here
and to me personally...
I also want to thank those
who as group or team members
of the various communities within which we minister
Open 2All Disciples, the group which formed
from the confirmation group last year
Open The Book..
SPLASH... RURAL CHALLENGE
Part of the continuing future
in succession planning and discipleship
Which is now into our third year..
As you know the intention of Step Up
is to ask what is God doing
and how am I going to respond to him.
We see that response being lived out in the parish
Last years Stepees continue to be mentored
and have now become mentors
for those coming through this year.
A similar pattern has evolved out of our
Continuing Confirmation Group - Open2All Disciples.
in that those who were confirmed last year
were to have been mentors
of those being confirmed this year.
A joy we have seen come out of Step-Up
is as part of the mission module
A mission developed
And the Wednesday Morning
Community Church Café was born
Pam and Diana have felt called
to be part of the ministry in the café
And over the year, Dianah
Linda Parrot and Wendy Tuff
Have felt a calling to be part of the group.
Freda is also part of the group,
Freda is there to chat to those who are new
and need someone to talk to.
The café runs along side the Computer Access Group,
Which continues to be well received
and continues to evolve.
Whilst many have learnt the basics,
And moved on to Skype, email, internet,
Facebook, Twitter etc.,
They are now bringing their
technology problems too.. Which is great.
We owe such a vote of thanks to Steve Jackson
for giving up his time every Wednesday
to be oversee and lead this teaching.
Please do keep spreading the word..
So the café and the computer group
are proving to be a good way for those
who do and don’t do computers
to meet and share the company of others.
Another way to share the company of others is
The Afternoon Tea for the Bereaved
This is held every two weeks
at Mary and Brian’s home...
which is a lovely space
for those in need of companionship,
those finding out who they are in Christ...
Also at the home of Mary and Brian
is The House Group..
The group is Facilitated and led by Brian
There is lots of discussion,
fellowship and learning
continues to evolve in this fluid group. ..
where people drop in and out
as their circumstances permit.
The Parish Visiting Team
headed up by Mary...
Mary and Angela
continue to take Holy Communion
into Abbey Care
Lilian and Doris have up until recently
continued to take Holy Communion
to the residence of St Edmunds
Thank you to Lilian who continues this ministry
as Doris convalesces further to her recent illness.
We also visit the house bound, the sick and those those in hospital..
you just have to ask or make us aware.
We also have a dept of thanks to The marauders
A great group of people
who care for each other
and for the grounds and the church
building at Easby..
Thank you to each of them
And thank you Hazel
for keeping them going on a Monday
with your home made cakes and drinks
Thanks to Lynda, who counts and chases
those who want to be on our electoral role.
We have to thank our buildings group,
who oversee all of our buildings
there work will be challenging
as we move into the future.
Thanks also to the new Fundraising Group
who are attempting to find ways to fill the gaps
in our giving ..
against the costs of ministry and mission..
Thanks to yet another group
our Mission Group,
who are looking at how we live in our communities
meeting others where they are
planning quizes, going to the pubs
and other social events as CHURCH..
There is so much ministry and mission happening
in our parish
and that is what our vision has to be
into the future..
Just what we are called to do and be as people of faith
is to love God and love others
just as we are loved..
And when we truly push into our Lord
when we know ourselves to be known,
called and loved.
As his children …
We become empowered by His Holy Spirit
to go out into all the world
sharing all we are in faith
in whatever way we are called today
and in the future.
We have to be brave
just as the disciples were brave when Jesus
started out to the cross
he trod on all of their hopes and dreams
for their own gain
and raised their dreams above anything
they could have ever imagined.
So as we put aside our hopes
as we COME OUT again
lets come out with new hope
Hope from listening and being guided by God
equipped by his spirit
to be his disciples
now and into the future..
So as we commit ourselves to him anew… lets pray
for all we have been and all we will be
as we minister now and in the future
And as part of our ministry
to come under the authority of accountability
of one to another
and to those in authority over us..
We now follow the rules of the Church of England as we
Elect our Church Wardens..
Thank you Ron and Hazel for standing for yet another year.
Lets pray for the new wardens…
Lord we thank you for Ron and for Hazel.
For their continuing ministry among us this year.
Please continue to guide and anoint them as they work to your praise and your glory. Amen.