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.
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.
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