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.
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