From the Vicar March 2019

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Welcome to the March edition of ‘From the Vicar’ and as always I seem to have lots to tell you.

Yesterday the PCC had one of its termly Away Mornings. Malcolm Chamberlain, the Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham, came and briefed us about the developing Diocesan Strategy, including the invitation to become a Resourcing Church. We will pick this up at our next PCC on the 8 April – so please do take the opportunity to talk with PCC members before then.

Thank you for all your very positive feedback about the Big Church Weekend to date. The staff and the PCC have begun a formal evaluation process – but if you would have not yet had the opportunity to give feedback please email your comments to Rachel McLafferty. She would be delighted to hear from you. Behind the scenes we piloted our new Church Management software ‘ChurchSuite’ to help organise our time in Buxton. ChurchSuite is a cloud hosted, web-based information management system designed especially for churches like ours. It really proved its worth for the weekend away – it will quickly followed up with some formal staff training.

At the moment we have a whole range of different formats and approaches to our numerous church rotas with no way of being able to spot who is being asked to serve on several rotas all at the same time. Also keeping track of when and where you are serving is not always easy. ChurchSuite is designed to help us. For the moment Beth Keith will be using ChurchSuite for managing and strengthening the welcome teams. While Michael Gordon is planning to use ChurchSuite for warden’s rotas. Watch this space for developments.

It is wonderful to have Beth Keith on board and lovely to see how the Keith family are settling in. Now that Beth is here, Dan Christian is starting to transfer oversight of Small Groups and Echo Groups to her, while also starting to make more time to oversee Children, Youth and Families ministries. Dan currently line manages Rosie Blackett, while Alistair Stevenson line manages Joseph Sheldon. From 1 May Dan Christian will take on line managing Joseph in order to create a new Children, Youth and Families team.

We are fast approaching the beginning of Sally Hunter’s maternity leave Sally’s last day in the church office is Friday 15 March. I’m delighted to let you know that Elaine McKenna has agreed to take up the post of Church Administrator (Maternity Cover). Elaine has substantial administrative experience and has most recently worked at HomeStart South Yorkshire and Sheffield Mencap. There will be some changes to the hours of this post, with gaps being resourced as needed. I’d like to say a big thank you to Lesa Thompson who has agreed to take on the practicalities of the DBS system for staff and volunteers. The initial plan is for Elaine to work Monday to Wednesday. In addition we are very grateful to a potential volunteer from the Church family who is interested in covering the office on Thursday. Elaine started working last week in order to ease the handover of a very busy and complex role. Please keep Sally and Elaine in your prayers during this period.

As you will be aware from previous editions of ‘From the Vicar’, All Saints clergy are very closely monitoring the House of Bishop’s work on human sexuality and gender ahead of the teaching document they intend to commend to the church early in 2020. Last month the working group reported to General Synod on progress to date. If you would like to know more, you may find it helpful to read the report GS Misc 1200 tabled at Synod on 21 February.

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2019-01/GS%20Misc%201200.pdf

I plan to comment further in April. Lent is nearly upon us. As usual we will be marking Ash Wednesday at our 10.30am service of Holy Communion. In addition, this year we will be holding a joint Mission Partnership service of Holy Communion at 7.00pm at St Gabriel’s Greystones. The theme of ‘Ashing’ will continue into the following Sunday. After a very successful five year run, with a total of 2,000+ attendances, we have decided not to offer our public theology programme ‘Christian Voices in the Contemporary World’ this Lent. Although we will continue to offer occasional one – off lectures under the ‘Christian Voices’ brand into the future. This year the lectures will be replaced with a series of reflective evenings at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit entitled ‘Journeys through Lent’ organised jointly by Beth Keith and Joy Adams. We will of course prepare for Easter with a ‘bring and share’ Big Passover Meal’ at 7.00pm on Maundy Thursday for the whole church family.

Yours in the service of Christ Jesus

Gary Wilton

Vicar

From the Vicar February 2019

Welcome to a Bumper February edition of From the Vicar.  On Sunday 27 January we launched our Bible verse for 2019

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:24-25

It is a wonderful verse, full of encouragement and hope for both the good days and the difficult days.  It also reminds us that meeting together is important – and that time is very precious indeed.  It was especially appropriate to launch this particular verse on a Sunday when we were meeting both here at All Saints and at the Palace Hotel in Buxton. 

Here at All Saints I was thrilled that Karen Cribb agreed to lead our Holy Communion service, while all our clergy were away, and that the church building continued to be open for the prayer and the praise of the Living God. I was pleased, not least, because the right back in the 13th century the canons of Beauchief Abbey founded All Saints for the very purpose of public prayer.  Keeping the church open was all about being faithful to our calling.  I was also thrilled because three new people attended and introduced themselves to the welcome team.

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Just half an hour behind the All Saints service at 10.30am we were celebrating Holy Communion in Buxton at 11.00am.  Unusually in Buxton we offered two offertory prayers – the first accompanied a model of the church made up of single pieces of lego we had each held for our intercessions.  The lego model of the church was multi-coloured and made up of hundreds of pieces – of different shapes and sizes.  Some parts of the model, stood strong, others stood tall, while others were a bit wobbly and even fell over.  In some ways it was a very beautiful picture of the church with all our differences, strengths, weaknesses and brokenness – all called to serve and worship the same living God. 

The second offertory prayer accompanied the financial gifts offered to help church family members to attend the weekend.  The total cost of the Big Church Weekend was around £37,000.  At the beginning of the weekend we had paid and donated around £29,000 + some Gift Aid. Our opening total also included a very generous grant of £3,000 from Whirlow Grange Ltd.  During the course of the weekend we gave an additional £6,000.  My hope is that, with a few more donations and with some Gift Aid we will fully meet the cost of the weekend, perhaps with some funds left over to offer to support a day away or weekend away for another church family.  If you are still wanting to donate, please contact the office or use the Big Church Weekend donation page on the church website.

I have returned to Ecclesall full of thanksgiving to God for the weekend: for the children and youth ministry, for the worship, for the teaching, for the fellowship, for the fun and for all our safe travelling.  To God be the Glory. During the course of the weekend I expressed our thanks and appreciation for our amazing staff team, our speaker Daniel McGinnis and our chaplains David and Helen Williams.  I also want to underline our thanks to all the volunteers who helped to make the weekend so special: 

  • Anne Hunter and Eric & Sue Phillips for agreeing to be part of the organising committee.

  • Lynne Quinney (Myers- Briggs),

  • Mary Wragg (The architecture of Buxton) and

  • Jo Hird ( Journeying with Bereavement)  for their inspiring workshops.

  • Joy Adams for leading morning and evening prayer, for organising the prayer room and for being available to meet with people one to one.

  • Janet Griffin, Chris Medd, Theresa Morrison, Beth & Dave Stout and Dan Christian for organising the wonderful gala dinner and ball on the Saturday evening.

  • Stephen Hunter for acting as master of ceremonies for the Ball and the Bishop’s Tea Party.

  • Our student team of helpers and baby-sitters from Cliff College: Mandey Hadley, Bryn McGlashan, Daniel Hughes, William Hepworth as well as Daniel Adock from St Columbas.

  • Children’s ministry leaders for providing ways for our children to engage with God through`out the weekend: Rosie Blackett, Rob and Cath Liley and Dan Christian.  Thanks also to Rosie for coordinating the babysitting on Friday and Saturday nights.

  • Our Youth team for the sessions through the weekend as well as providing space and time for our young people to hang out: Joseph Sheldon, Hannah Chester, Sam Chubb, Emily Jackson, Ross and Emma Draper.

  • Our musicians and singers including Ali Burke, Jane Robinson, Matthew Redfern, Emma Radford, Ben Hartley, Beth & Dave Stout, David Onac and Alistair Stevenson

  • Our operations team: Rachel McLafferty and Daniel Tarrant.

  • Last but not least, our thanks go to all those who helped staff the reception desk.

One of the joys of the weekend was the teaching offered By Daniel MGinnis.  He gave us a fascinating whistle stop tour of the book of Acts with a particular focus on the different churches in Jerusalem, Antioch and Ephesus. His power point presentations were sent out via the weekly email this earlier week, if you would like to read through them.  On the Friday evening Daniel gave us an overview of the cultural background to Acts – not least helping us to grapple with the multi-cultural and multi-religious nature of the Roman Empire.  And I for one, did not know that the city of Rome has a population of 1 million. While Antioch and Ephesus each had populations of 500,000.

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On the Saturday morning we explored the life of the churches in Jerusalem, Antioch and Ephesus.  Here Daniel helped us to see how the apostles went about planting new churches where they were known and where they had relationships.  Indeed he was very clear that Acts is all about Church-planting.  Very wonderfully Daniel made his first visit to All Saints on the day we laid on hands and sent the team to St Gabriel’s Greystones.  He reminded us that this was very much the pattern in Acts and encouraged us to consider planting more churches in the future.

Over the past year I have been meeting with the Bishop’s team and the leaders of the larger churches to think through the role of ‘resourcing churches’ in the life of the diocese.  Having discussed a first draft of a Memorandum of Understanding just before Christmas I was thrilled to receive the latest draft just as I was standing at the door welcoming people to the Big Church Weekend. I have the Bishop’s permission to share it widely, so I have included it in this bumper edition of ‘From the Vicar’.  We will not be rushing into any decisions and I will be welcoming lots of input from the Church Family.  So watch this space. 

At the end of the Big Church Weekend, members of the Church Family of all generations expressed just how much they had enjoyed being together. Indeed some of the children told me that they didn’t want to go home (Congratulations - Children & Youth leaders).  While others wanted to know when were we planning the next church weekend away (Congratulations - Rachel McLafferty).

In the meantime let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

A Draft Memorandum of Understanding                                       

for the Bishop of Sheffield,

the Sheffield Diocesan Board of Finance

and a Parochial Church Council (or other governance body)

to enable the identification of ‘Resourcing Churches’

in the Diocese of Sheffield

 

In the Diocese of Sheffield, a ‘resourcing church’ is defined as a church which

*     has been formally designated as such, at the invitation of the Bishop of Sheffield and with the agreement of the Parochial Church Council

*     has entered into a formal understanding with the Bishop and the SDBF to further the Diocesan Strategy, by committing itself to a programme of church planting in negotiation with the Bishop’s senior staff

*     has agreed in good faith an indicative timescale for the next plant and a process for agreeing a favoured location

In developing and deploying Resourcing Churches, the Bishop of Sheffield will:

a)           give priority to the leaders of resourcing churches in the placing of curates for training, with a view to curate-led plants at the end of the training period

b)          meet termly with the leaders of resourcing churches to provide updates and to seek advice on the implementation of the Diocesan Strategy

c)          liaise closely with the leaders of resourcing churches in the creation and training of a pipeline of interns, lay pioneers, lay focal leaders and ordinands to sustain the future programme of church planting

In undertaking its responsibilities, the PCC of a resourcing church will

a)           commit to a minimum of one church plant every five years, involving at least 25 people with a designated lay or ordained leader

b)          work closely in partnership with the Bishop in the identification and training of potential church plant leaders, especially when these are not SDBF curates

c)           engage seriously with the strategic priorities of the Diocese in agreeing potential locations for future church plants

d)          support the implementation of the Diocesan Strategy and the culture change it requires, by contributing to training, discipling and the nurturing of gifts

In addition, the senior leaders of a resourcing church will meet termly together with the Bishop of Sheffield and/or members of his senior staff in order to shape the continuing development of the Diocesan Strategy.

+Pete, January 2019

From the Vicar January 2019

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 A very Happy New Year to the whole Church Family from the Wilton Family. We really hope that you had a good Christmas and New Year and that you are looking forward to all God’s possibilities for 2019.

Looking back to Christmas for a moment, I would very much like to say a personal thank you to the small army of volunteers for all your hard work during Advent and Christmas Seasons.  The church building looked beautiful and the music was wonderful while many people also commented on the high quality of the publicity material.  I was particularly thrilled by the many comments about the All Saints Christmas cards, the Facebook Advent Acts of Kindness and the preparation of the church building.

 I could not say thank you to all our volunteers without paying special thanks to the wardens, associate clergy, readers and staff team who have worked particularly hard during December. Your dedication and service has been ‘full of grace’.  It has been a privilege to serve alongside you all.  Thank you!

As we turn into 2019, I am excitedly counting the days until the BIG CHURCH WEEKEND AWAY – Friday 25 January to Sunday 27 January at the Palace Hotel in Buxton.  We have 300 members of the Church Family booked including 10 from St Gabriel’s. It is going to be a very special time of building up our shared life and getting to know one another. I am especially looking forward to welcoming Joy Adams and Bishop David & Helen Williams as our chaplains for the weekend as well as our main speaker Daniel McGuinness who will be opening the book of Acts for us. He is a lot of fun and very engaging. His teaching is always applied to everyday life. In preparation I have prepared a daily Bible reading plan for the month of January– so that the whole church family whether we are going to Buxton or not, can join in reading through Acts together. Members of the Church Family have already been emailed the reading plan via the weekly email.  There are also hard copies available in the Welcome Area.

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With 300 people coming to Buxton more than half of the church family will be staying in Ecclesall – so I am delighted that Karen Cribb from St Mary’s Bramall Lane has agreed to lead a 10.30 service of Holy Communion at All Saints on the theme ‘Being Church’ from the book of Acts. Please note that there will only be one service at All Saints on that Sunday.  The service will include the launch of the 2019 verse for the year and if at all possible we will try to organise a live link with the service taking place at the Palace Hotel in Buxton. With the Big Church Weekend and a service taking place at the same time at All Saints our verse for 2019 will be very appropriate:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24-25

It is a wonderful verse, full of encouragement and hope for the good days and the difficult days.  It also reminds us that meeting together is important – and that time is very previous indeed.

Only three days after the Big Church Weekend, will be Beth Keith’s licensing as Associate Vicar here at All Saints at 7.30pm on Wednesday 30 January.  I am delighted that the Bishop of Sheffield has agreed to conduct the service. This will be a very special time of welcoming and praying for Beth, Laurence and their family.  Please make sure that you have this date in your diary.

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Beth will be overseeing the development and growth of our small groups, and focussing on welcome, outreach ministry, and nurture courses. She will also be developing ministry among women and re-imaging the shared prayer life of the church family. I can’t wait!  In the meantime please would you remember the Keith family in your prayers as they prepare to join us.

Wish you a very Happy New Year, With love and prayers

Gary Wilton, Vicar

Fusion Group

Hi my name is Tina English and I am a volunteer facilitator at the Fusion Group in Sheffield.

Fusion Group was started over 3 years ago after identifying a real need for a place of support for both Asylum Seeking and Refugee women and their children. 

The group is hosted by The Together Women project in Sheffield, they kindly provide the resources and space for us to meet every Thursday morning. 

It is a safe environment where the women and children can come and be welcomed and supported by myself and my colleague Helen Jones. Both myself and Helen have many years experience supporting women housed in Sheffield in Asylum Seeker accommodation. 

The main purpose of Fusion is to help women who initially feel very isolated and alone in a new city. They can find out about the city, where to go, what to see and meet new friends and contacts. It is a lifeline for many, a place where they can ask questions, know there are other women they can genuinely trust and who have their best interests at heart.

We have women from many countries and different cultures. It is a real privilege to meet them and get to know them. Many bring paperwork and letters they have received and we help them sort out issues by phone calls and support at appointments. 

Every week we plan a different activity. Last week we made scented candles and decorated the glass jars. The women are able to take home anything made in the sessions. This week we will be doing a stir fry from scratch, preparing the vegetables and cooking. A lot of our group activities involve food and eating and many bring in their own food to share.

It is always a fun, relaxed time with opportunities to improve their English language skills, which is very important to them all. I am also a volunteer English teacher so my skills in this area really help. Learning English is vital to help with integration and feeling at home in their new environment.

We organise trips out, regularly visiting places such as Chatsworth and Bakewell and various parks. Many would never venture away from the city centre and their own locality. To see them discover the countryside just a short bus ride out of Sheffield is amazing. 

Being part of Fusion really helps boost  confidence and self esteem. Women are able to find out about other groups in the city and take advantage of many activities provided for women and children. They are able to start putting down roots and feel part of community. Some women even feel confident enough now to run sessions at our group, sharing their own skills and talents. 

What is so encouraging for both myself and Helen is to see how the women and children can grow and contribute to the community. How lasting friendships develop and flourish throughout time. 

Living as an Asylum Seeker can be very hard, barely enough money just to survive. We are so grateful for the gifts this church has kindly given at Christmas time. It has made such a difference to the women and children. We always celebrate with a Christmas Party and the joy the gifts bring is wonderful to see. They are so thankful that people they have never met are  so kind and generous to them and their children. The women are of many faiths but know the gifts are given by a Christian church. Myself and Helen also deliver presents to many Asylum Seekers, survivors of human trafficking and refugees throughout the city too. Women we have come to know and love over the years and we continue to support.

We are so thankful that the wonderful people at All Saints Ecclesall are planning to generously give gifts again this Christmas.

Children's gifts are a real blessing to us all. 

It is really helpful to add a label indicating the gender and age so we can easily allocate the presents to the children. Presents for the women are also welcome, I know they particularly appreciate anything scented, like body lotion, perfume etc. they never have the money to treat themselves, or family to give them gifts.

Both myself and Helen are Christians and work out our faith by showing the love of God to these women and families that are in so much need of friendship and acceptance. 

If any women in the church would like to find out more about the group.  Maybe to visit or volunteer their time and talents, please call Tina on 07757735589

From the Vicar December 2018

Welcome to Advent and the journey to Christmas.  As well as a season of preparation and waiting, it is also a season for thanksgiving and counting our blessings.  As our verse for the year encourages us … as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

As we begin Advent together, I would like to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers and staff who have worked so hard on our Advent and Christmas programme. I am full of anticipation and hope for all that God is going to do in our midst during this very special season.  At the same time I would like to pay tributes to particular Church Family members.

Looking back over the last six months, I have written regularly about Alistair Stevenson and his appointment as Associate Vicar of All Saints (0.5) and Vicar of St Gabriel’s (0.5). And as we move into the New Year, I will be writing extensively about Beth Keith and her licencing as Associate Vicar on 30th January.  So for the moment I would like to pay tribute to Dan Christian, the first Associate Vicar appointed since I became Vicar in September 2013.  This coming April 2019 Dan, Laura and Theodore will have been at All Saints for three years.  His hard work, energy and the way in which he shares his giftedness, have all contributed very significantly to the current flourishing of so many different parts of church life.   I love the way in which he relates to so many different people in the life of the Church Family and I always look forward to him preaching or leading services.  Dan – Thank you!

Much less visible are the flower team, who work faithfully week by week to prepare the church for worship. As I come into church, my attention is always caught by the beautiful flowers on the main pedestal.  My thank you also includes the members of the church family who generously donate money for flowers to be provided on particular Sundays.  Looking ahead into 2019, we do have a number of gaps in the rota.  If you would like to donate funds in memory of a loved one, Lorna Mason would love to hear from you on 236 1455. Lorna’s email is lornafmason@hotmail.com.  Also if you have the gift of arranging flowers, Lorna would be very very pleased to hear from you.

Alongside the flower team, I would also like to say a very big thank you to Kathryn Walker who single handedly made all the new curtains for the east end of the church. We now have four different curtains for the different seasons of the year.  Purple for Advent and Lent, Red for Festivals, Pentecost & Remembrance, White & Gold for Easter and Green for Trinity.  Lots of people have commented on how contemporary they feel and how they highlight the cross as the central focus in the church. 

With the appointment of an additional Associate Vicar, I have been reviewing the number of matching stoles we have for use at the 8.00am and 9.15am services with the intention of creating complete sets of four in each colour.   Here I am very grateful to Jeannette Jackson for all her input and advice. Currently we have two purple stoles and three red stoles, with material being held in stock to complete the sets.  Very generously Jeannette and her son Alexander have agreed to pay for new additional purple stoles in memory of Jeanette’s late husband Lionel.  I am thrilled.  If anyone would like to sponsor the single outstanding red stole at around £300, I would be delighted to hear from you.

A number of you have asked me about how are we progressing with them proposal to extend the church building.  Unfortunately we have needed to slow down due to the complexity of the task and the lack of staff capacity to go any faster. Here I am delighted that when Michael Gordon steps down as Church Warden, he has agreed to spear head the project. This will create a lot of new momentum. In the meantime we are progressing with the significant works that need to be done to the stone guttering of main roof of the church.  Following the successful compete re-roofing of the Edwardian Chancel and Transept, we now need to attend to the repairs that need to be done to the Georgian part of the church.  This is a significantly smaller project than re-roofing but will be no less important in ensuring that the church building is absolutely watertight. Once the works are done to the Georgian part of the building, it will be completely watertight! Only then will we be able to redecorate and re-carpet.  The project is currently in the hands of our church architect and roofer.  We hope to seek permission from the DAC in the spring so that we can proceed with the works in the summer/autumn. I will keep you updated.

But for the moment Advent is upon us.  We have the most amazing suite of services planned; ranging from the Advent Meditation to Christingle to the Tea Service to Carols by Candle-light to the Crib and Nativity Services.  Please remember these services in your prayers.  Also who could you invite to come along with you?  And who could you encourage to be thinking about joining the Alpha Course in the New Year?

Yours in the service of Christ Jesus

Gary

From the Vicar October 2018

Welcome to the October edition of ‘From the Vicar’ and my introduction to All Saints-Tide. Hopefully very soon we will be able to say a strong welcome to everyone who passes by All Saints.  Following the very successful pilot signage outside the halls, I am delighted to report that we have now finalised the design of the new signage to be sited at the entrances to the church.  We are in the process of applying for permission to install the new signs and hope to have them in position for Christmas or early in the New Year. Every day I rejoice that we are called ‘All Saints’.  Our very name reminds me of our calling to be a vibrant, missional and multi-generation Christian family. Our new signage will only serve to underline who we are, and will strengthen our welcome to all people. It is also a wonderful reminder that we stand on the shoulders of all the generations of Saints who have gone before us in the faith.

The New Testament makes regular references to the ‘glorious inheritance of the saints’ and to the ‘great crowd of witnesses surrounding us’.  While in the communion service we often pray ‘Bring us at the last with all the saints to the vision of that eternal splendour for which you have created us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, by whom, with whom, and in whom, with all who stand before you in earth and heaven…’

At All Saints we begin October with Vision Sunday when we think about our church family finances for the year to come. This year our theme is ‘Faith in God, Faith in the Church Family and Faith in the Future. We have much cause to give thanks to God as ‘the one who calls us is faithful’. This year our finances have been very stable.  For 2019 we need to pick up the momentum or we will all too easily start slipping backwards.  For 2019 we have a real challenge to increase our giving by £30,000.   Please set aside time to read and to pray though the stewardship brochure before completing the ‘commitment page’.  Every new or increased pledge would make a real difference.  This year I am asking myself and all of us to be especially generous.

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October traditionally ends with ‘All Saints or All Hallowed Ones Eve’ on 31 October before All Saints Day on 1 November– which is effectively our Patronal Festival Day or Church Family Birthday. In most years 1 November clashes with the school half term, when many families are away and grandparents are travelling to other parts of the country to look after grandchildren.  This means that All Saints Day often passes by without proper celebration.

This year we are holding ‘All Saints-Tide’ from Sunday 28 October to Sunday 4 November.   The eight days will include:

  • ·         The installation of Alistair Stevenson as Associate Vicar of All Saints at 6pm on Sunday 28 October

  • ·         Gift Days for the BIG CHURCH WEEKEND AWAY

  • ·         The Light Party for 0-11 year olds from 4.15pm on Wednesday 31 October

  • ·         Commitment Sunday on Sunday 4 November

Having successfully completed his training, Alistair will be made Associate Vicar (0.5) of All Saints on Sunday 28 October prior to being commissioned in November to go with a small team to resource the mission of St Gabriel’s Greystones. We are hoping that Alistair will become Vicar of St Gabriel’s shortly before Advent – at a date to be agreed with the Bishop of Sheffield.  We will keep you updated on this. But in the meantime please would you put 6pm on 28 October in your diary.  It will be a very special time of expressing our appreciation and praying for Alistair’s continuing ministry at All Saints.  The service will be followed by a cake and something fizzy to drink.

Looking further ahead bookings are going really well for the Big Church Weekend Away from 25-27 January 2019. Over 200 people have booked and lots of people have said that they are going to book; so if you are thinking about booking, please do so ASAP. At this stage we have raised about a third of the cost of the weekend – so the All Saint-tide Gift Days will be a very important time to think and pray about what you can donate towards the overall cost of the weekend.  Here I am really keen to encourage those who are not able to come on the weekend to be particularly generous in supporting young families in particular to join us.

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The Big Church Weekend will be followed very quickly by Beth Keith’s Licencing as Associate Vicar on Wednesday 30 January 2019. I am delighted that Beth and her family will be joining us on the Big Church Weekend – it will be a wonderful opportunity to get to know them as well as many other new members of the Church Family.

Happy All Saints-Tide

Gary Wilton,

Vicar

Spinning A Web Of Unity

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Having toured Rome last year to strengthen Anglican/Catholic relations, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s cricket team has had a focus on interfaith relations in 2018. On July 6th a combined xi made up of Anglicans and Catholic cricketers faced a multi faith team at Lord’s with cricketers from of Sikh, Jewish and Muslim faiths. At the end of August, the team were part of a two day interfaith festival playing against a Jewish, Skih and Afghan refugee team in North London.

A tournament was devised of lots of different 20twenty games. Unfortunately the Sikh team were unable to get a team together, so on the first day the Archbishop’s xi played two games against Maccabi Vale xi – a Jewish team in North London. The games were hard fought with Maccabi winning the first game batting first, hitting 141-4. We fell just short reaching 134- 3. However, in the second game, a century from the late arriving Sam Rylands, an ordinand at Trinity, Bristol, meant we reached 175-5. Maccabi could only muster 130-7. On a personal note, I bowled the last over and almost got a hat trick, taking two wickets and a run out off the last three balls of the game.

A highlight of the day, came during an evening of interfaith dialogue, fueled generously by Maccabi Vale. The Revd Chris Kennedy (ABC XI captain) hosted a discussion that involved Rabbi Nicki Liss (Highgate Synagogue), Esmond Rosen (Barnet Interfaith forum), the Revd Laurence Hillel (London Inter Faith Centre), and David Hampshire (Inter Faith Network UK).

Revd Kennedy asked, how can we truly love one another whilst acknowledging and cherishing our differences? Many answers were given, but Mr Hampshire argued that sport provided the perfect opportunity for camaraderie and friendship, uniting people with differences through a common passion. Mr Rosen concluded by arguing that, as all religions share a goal of peace, joint action to bless the whole community was the best way to promote interfaith understanding.

On the second day we were immensely privileged to play against a team made of Afghan refugees. This is a team that was set up by the refugee council and is based in Croydon, South London. The team is made up of boys aged 14-18 who clearly had a huge passion for cricket. The boys lived with foster families and spent their days in school before meeting every afternoon for training and practice. Their enthusiasm was inspirational. When we mentioned Rashid Khan – a young Afghan spinner who has burst onto the international cricket scene – you could see that he was their complete inspiration. They were also very good at cricket. When they batted, they played with reckless abandon, running like whippets between the wickets. They bowled with pace and control. I was umpiring for the first over of our innings – their opening bowler delivered one of the best balls I have seen live – swinging into the batsman, pitching on middle stump before curving away to hit the top of off stump. The batsman just stood there perplexed! It was a wonderful game of cricket – the refugee team hit 144-6, beating us by 7 runs as we dragged our way to 137-4.

This was a game of cricket you really didn’t mind losing. We gave the boys a lift back to the station after the game and were able to hear some of the moving stories of their lives. The refugee cricket project-leader, Antonia Cohen, explained: “Cricket has provided a significant number of our individuals with many benefits and opportunities. The warmth and respect with which they are often welcomed on the cricket pitch, where they are seen as players rather than refugees, means an enormous amount to them. At the same time, playing cricket has provided an almost unique opportunity to introduce them to the diversity of the UK and its communities.”

As a team we have endeavored to raise £2000 to support the project by buying equipment for them to use. All Saints have given a donation but if you would like to support the cause personally you can donate here: https://mydonate.bt.com/teams/abcxi

The festival having finished, our tour ended on a very different note. The first captain of the Archbishop’s xi is now the chaplain at Eton College. On the final day we were invited to Morning Prayer in the chapel and dinner in the evening. In the day we were given a tour around St George’s chapel at Windsor before playing the Royal Household xi in the grounds of Windsor castle. A fantastic setting – although I was disappointed with tea, I did expect some smoked salmon. A cracking game of cricket ensued with us needing 3 runs off the final ball. Unfortunately, we could only hit a single and so lost by 1 run.

Like last year, under the guise of playing cricket, it was a wonderful opportunity to forge friendships with different people from lots of different backgrounds. It was most moving in seeing the faith of my team mates as well as those we were playing against. Sport has the ability to be a great equalizer, on the pitch you are all players unified in your desire to play. It is through this lens that sport and indeed cricket becomes a powerful tool for creating conversations and relationships that may not have happened otherwise.

Dan Christian

September 2018

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