The summer is upon us. Universities are already ‘down’ while the schools are about to close for the summer. Whether we are parents or not, whether we are going away or not – the months of July and August are quite different to the rest of the year. Usually there is a little more time to slow down and to phone or visit friends and loved ones. And of course the roads in Ecclesall are much less busy even if the M1 is full of one traffic jam after another. During August we are planning for our services to be simpler and a little shorter to reduce our demands on volunteers and staff. In addition there will be no Sunday 6pm service on Sunday 26 August.
Summer opens with the Church BBQ on Sunday 8 July at 12.30pm at Rob and Jenny Coleman’s- 8 Carsick View Road, S10 3LZ. Please sign up in church. Summer also brings the All Saints children’s Holiday Club. Please do sign up to help and invite all the children that you know as well as committing the week to your prayers. If you would like to know more, please contact Rosie Blackett.
Looking back to June it was wonderful to welcome Bishop Pete once again to All Saints. His lecture on ‘Mutual Flourishing in a place of disagreement’ was really well attended and it was very pleasing to welcome so many people from across the Diocese. The lecture ended with a discussion of what we have to offer a broken world, full of disagreement and enmity. Here Bishop Pete proposed five simple rules for disagreeing well.
1. Listen carefully, ready to change
2. Affirm common ground
3. Assume the best intentions and motives
4. Address your opponent’s strongest arguments
5. Only say publicly or at a distance, what you would be prepared to say personally face to face
I encourage you to share them in your home groups, with your families and at work. They are very simple indeed – but nonetheless potentially life changing.
June also saw Pedr Beckley’s announcement of his retirement as Vicar of St Gabriel’s Greystones. After a very long wait the Beckleys have managed to buy their retirement house of choice. This is wonderful news, but also a very strange time as they plan to leave Greystones after over 30 years of ministry there. On 20 June, with the support of All Saints PCC, Alistair Stevenson met informally with the PCC of St Gabriel’s to begin to explore their vision for the future and to scope what serving there half time might look like alongside continuing to serve half time at All Saints. The St Gabriel’s PCC reiterated their enthusiasm for our growing partnership and the possible arrival of a small group from All Saints. St Gabriel’s is full of very faithful and committed people who have served for many years but who are no doubt greatly encouraged by the possible sharing of the ministry in Greystones in the years to come. Alistair left the meeting encouraged by the possibilities of what God might do at St Gabriel’s in the future and to build on the very significant legacy already there. Accordingly I will table at All Saints July PCC the formal proposal to release Alistair to serve half time at St Gabriel’s from the autumn. I will be able to share more details following the meeting.
This means that All Saints will be keeping the Diocesan removals company particularly busy this year- with the hoped for move of the Stevenson family to St Gabriel’s Vicarage and also the temporary move of the Wilton family out of the All Saints Vicarage later this month. Many of you will know that the vicarage central heating system has been failing for a number of years. Initially this prompted discussions about building a new vicarage paid for by the sale of the current vicarage. This was a very attractive possibility and indeed I was very excited by the thought of designing a new vicarage fit for the next 100 years. However the creation of the new Clifford All Saints Primary School has made me think again. Ecclesall is in the midst of a baby boom and in the future there may be pressure on Clifford All Saints Primary School to expand. The only way it could do so would be to use the existing vicarage site. So I have proposed that we should retain the existing vicarage indefinitely just in case. I am therefore grateful to the Diocese for agreeing to install a completely new heating system. We are already looking forward to being warm next winter! But in the meantime every pipe in the vicarage is about to be changed by the plumbers, taking up all the floors and knocking holes in all the walls. Once the plumbers have finished the decorators will move in, with everything ready for the end of August.
On 9 June, 75 Church Family members attended the PCC Open Morning to catch up with the PCC’s conversations about the possibility of building an extension. The meeting was wide ranging including discussions about the halls, community use of the school, the scale of a possible extension, and the unexpected potential of the crypt. No decisions were made except that we recognise that we have a lot more praying, talking and information gathering to do. The meeting was immensely positive and fun. A number of Church Family members encouraged us to be really bold as we look into the future. Others were keen to adopt a phased approach. A highlight of the meeting was a visit to the crypt. Around 60 of us made our way to the entrance east end of the church just below the Emmaus Chapel. For most, it was their very first visit. Most expressed surprise at the amount of space. Others were very taken by the beautiful arched windows. Currently we are writing up all the feedback generated by the Church Family. Please look out for further meetings and other opportunities to contribute.