Welcome to the May edition of ‘From the Vicar’. April may have ended with a bitter cold day, but it also ended with a very warm and harmonious Annual Parochial Church Meeting. Despite the weather and the road closures the meeting was well attended and very enjoyable. I was delighted that we elected Michael Gordon and Sarah Leighton to serve as Churchwardens and Ruth Watkin and David Coleshill as Deputy Wardens. In addition we elected Richard Blyth, Richard Donkin, Emily Jackson and Julia Newton to the PCC and Vicky Vidler as a Deanery Synod Representative following her co-option last year.
Those stepping down from the PCC included Corrynne Osborne, Mark Peterson and David Quinney. They have each served as wardens and as PCC members with great energy and wisdom over many years. We are immensely grateful to them and we hope that it won’t be too long before they stand again. We are also very grateful to Richard Donkin for agreeing to step in as PCC Secretary last year. He has done a sterling job keeping us in order, and will hand over to the equally able Emily Jackson later this month.
We have a great PCC. Our meetings are hard work but often full of laughter. As stewards of our Church Family finances they are charged with ensuring that our finances are sound and in good order. They also ensure that we take proper care of our buildings and staff and that we are fully compliant with matters of safeguarding and legislation. Most of all the PCC are tasked to work with me and the staff team to ensure that we are moving ahead with a shared vision. This means that we spent a lot of time looking forward, dreaming dreams and planning for the future as well as reviewing different ministries.
For 2018/2019 we already know that we have a packed agenda. Since last autumn Alistair & Catherine Stevenson and their family, Rosie Blackett and Tim & Emily Elgar and their family, have been helping to support the new monthly 9.00am ‘First Service’ at St Gabriel’s Greystones. This has gone really well, and the PCC of St Gabriel’s have written to our PCC requesting that we develop and formalise our collaboration once their current incumbent Pedr Beckley retires. At the same time the All Saints PCC has been exploring and discerning how we might do this. Last autumn with the full support of the Diocese, I tabled the proposal that we should release Alistair Stevenson to take pastoral charge of St Gabriel’s, while still being a member of the All Saints staff ministry. Initially he would serve half time at St Gabriel’s with the task of growing the church in Greystones so that it is able to sustain a full time vicar within 5 years.
Alistair would transfer in planned stages to serve at St Gabriel’s full time as it grows and as finances allow. Once Pedr Beckley has announced his retirement, it will be important that we complete our discernment and decision-making process and respond formally to the request made by the St Gabriel’s PCC. But for the moment we are very much in the midst of the process of discernment and we continue to ask for God’s guidance. Please would you add Pedr and his family, Alistair & Catherine and their family and St Gabriel’s to your prayers.
As I write I am also finalising the advertisement for a second Associate Vicar to succeed Jo Hird. The advert will be published in the Church Times on 11 May. Legally we are required to advertise for a female or male colleague and to appoint the very best person. But given that women are currently underrepresented in our ministry team, I am praying that the very best person will be female. The PCC are eager to appoint someone who fits All Saints and the existing staff team. We are therefore advertising the post with a flexible portfolio of ministries in order to attract the right person. Very generously both Dan Christian and Alistair Stevenson have offered to adjust their ministry portfolios accordingly.
A key part of my presentation at the APCM was an update on the PCC’s thinking about a possible extension to the church building. We are still very much at the beginning, but are now ready to share our conversation with the wider congregation. We want to work with you to develop our vision for the church building we need as a multi-generation church family. On Saturday 9 June from 10.00am to 1.00pm we will be holding an Open PCC Meeting to which the whole church family are invited. Together we will need to start asking: Is this the right vision for the building? What are our needs? What about the cost? Please put Saturday 9 June in your diary and join the conversation.
This coming September will mark the opening of the new Clifford All Saints (C of E) Primary School. Catering for children aged 4-11 it will offer high quality and inspiring education in a Christian setting for the children of Ecclesall and beyond. The ethos statement for the new school begins: 'INSPIRATIONAL EDUCATION FOR EVERYONE'.
Inspirational and holistic education for all children in a welcoming, generous and safe Church School community shaped by faith, hope and love. The new Clifford All Saints School will be jointly based on the sites of the former Clifford Infants and the former Ecclesall Junior School. The former Junior School site will close for refurbishment during the autumn term, to reopen as part of the new Church of England Primary School. The new school will have a church majority on the governing body shared by All Saints Ecclesall and St Andrew Psalter Lane. Quite wonderfully the logo for the new school blends the three windows from All Saints with the St Andrew’s cross. Please remember the new Clifford All Saints School and the expanded Ecclesall Infants, soon to be Ecclesall Primary, in your prayers.
Yours in the service of Christ Jesus
Gary Wilton, Vicar