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.
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:
4 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.
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.
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