Monday, 17 January 2011

End of Semester Looms

The mid-point of my college course and training looms close with the end of the semester studies on 1 February. With one assignment left to write - I turned in three for marking this morning - I'm on target to finish the necessary written work ahead of schedule. One or two fellow students are at pains to remind me we have an exam on 1 February to undergo and I have not forgotten that joy which officially rounds off the semester and the half way point.

So very soon it will be the down hill slop to finishing the course. Frighteningly we have begun to explore the Settlement process which will decide our future ministry's post-college. This prompts Walmer to think about its long term desires for ministry and of course a long hard look at its finances.

Our first Deacons Meeting of the year is scheduled for this week and the Treasurer seems happy that the accounts for 2010 have balanced and we have sufficient funds to keep things running for the time being. We need to prayerfully consider our application for Home Mission funding in 2012. Our AGM is a month away and we need to spend time as a church reflecting on the future goals, short and long term.

In the immediate future, however, is Christian Unity Week. It is a privilege to have been invited to preach st the parish churches and also to have an Anglican preach for us. Even more special is the opportunity to share with the Vicar in an United Service on Sunday evening which we are hosting.

We continue to be encouraged by church attendance and the number of new faces we see in the pews each week. It is also heartening to welcome back a number of folk who have been convalescing at home.

Monday, 10 January 2011

New Year - Still breathing

Happy New Year everyone - it is still only ten days old so I think I can get away with such an opening greeting. For those who have wondered whether the festive season had overwhelmed to to the extent that I had disappeared here is the reassurance that I am still breathing albeit after a period of hibernation.
Since my last blog I have been on Christmas break from college which has meant that all available time has focused on the church and our extensive programme of Christmas services interrupted from time to time by the falling of snow which necessitated some snowman building and path clearances.
All of our Christmas services were well attended by both visitors and regular folk and I hope we re-told the familiar story of the birth of Jesus in refreshing and challenging ways across the season. Certainly those who attended who received their gifts at the various pre-Christmas services - a glow stick, a bag of straw and a copy of John's gospel - had something to take away and reflect upon as well as share in the familiar carol singing and bible readings.
Our own carol singing in the neighbourhood proved a popular event and our 'choir' brought Christmas cheer to a number of our shut-in folk.
Laid low with the flu from Boxing Day, three days in bed provided a period of enforced rest which was probably necessary although I am not a good patient not least when I know I have lots I want to do and am physically not up to the challenge.
Anyway the flu has passed and we have journeyed with the Magi into the new year and the Epiphany Season. We have had three folk - local residents - visit us on Sundays and each has indicated a desire to return. We will look forward to welcoming them again.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity looms and this year I have been invited to preach at the parish churches and we will have an Anglican minister preach in place here. The Vicar and I will also lead a united service for our congregations which re-introduces something which has not happened in our community for 20 years or so.
Today I update this blog sitting in the college library having returned to Spurgeons for the last four weeks of the semester. Two assignments and a journal need to be completed by 31 January so I have enough to keep me occupied for the next few weeks but will doubtless find time to post another update here soon.
In the mean time the challenge remains to be still breathing....