From the Vicar March 2019

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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.

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2019-01/GS%20Misc%201200.pdf

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

Gary Wilton

Vicar

From the Vicar February 2019

Welcome to a Bumper February edition of From the Vicar.  On Sunday 27 January we launched our Bible verse for 2019

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 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.”

Hebrews 10:24-25

It is a wonderful verse, full of encouragement and hope for both the good days and the difficult days.  It also reminds us that meeting together is important – and that time is very precious indeed.  It was especially appropriate to launch this particular verse on a Sunday when we were meeting both here at All Saints and at the Palace Hotel in Buxton. 

Here at All Saints I was thrilled that Karen Cribb agreed to lead our Holy Communion service, while all our clergy were away, and that the church building continued to be open for the prayer and the praise of the Living God. I was pleased, not least, because the right back in the 13th century the canons of Beauchief Abbey founded All Saints for the very purpose of public prayer.  Keeping the church open was all about being faithful to our calling.  I was also thrilled because three new people attended and introduced themselves to the welcome team.

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Just half an hour behind the All Saints service at 10.30am we were celebrating Holy Communion in Buxton at 11.00am.  Unusually in Buxton we offered two offertory prayers – the first accompanied a model of the church made up of single pieces of lego we had each held for our intercessions.  The lego model of the church was multi-coloured and made up of hundreds of pieces – of different shapes and sizes.  Some parts of the model, stood strong, others stood tall, while others were a bit wobbly and even fell over.  In some ways it was a very beautiful picture of the church with all our differences, strengths, weaknesses and brokenness – all called to serve and worship the same living God. 

The second offertory prayer accompanied the financial gifts offered to help church family members to attend the weekend.  The total cost of the Big Church Weekend was around £37,000.  At the beginning of the weekend we had paid and donated around £29,000 + some Gift Aid. Our opening total also included a very generous grant of £3,000 from Whirlow Grange Ltd.  During the course of the weekend we gave an additional £6,000.  My hope is that, with a few more donations and with some Gift Aid we will fully meet the cost of the weekend, perhaps with some funds left over to offer to support a day away or weekend away for another church family.  If you are still wanting to donate, please contact the office or use the Big Church Weekend donation page on the church website.

I have returned to Ecclesall full of thanksgiving to God for the weekend: for the children and youth ministry, for the worship, for the teaching, for the fellowship, for the fun and for all our safe travelling.  To God be the Glory. During the course of the weekend I expressed our thanks and appreciation for our amazing staff team, our speaker Daniel McGinnis and our chaplains David and Helen Williams.  I also want to underline our thanks to all the volunteers who helped to make the weekend so special: 

  • Anne Hunter and Eric & Sue Phillips for agreeing to be part of the organising committee.

  • Lynne Quinney (Myers- Briggs),

  • Mary Wragg (The architecture of Buxton) and

  • Jo Hird ( Journeying with Bereavement)  for their inspiring workshops.

  • Joy Adams for leading morning and evening prayer, for organising the prayer room and for being available to meet with people one to one.

  • Janet Griffin, Chris Medd, Theresa Morrison, Beth & Dave Stout and Dan Christian for organising the wonderful gala dinner and ball on the Saturday evening.

  • Stephen Hunter for acting as master of ceremonies for the Ball and the Bishop’s Tea Party.

  • Our student team of helpers and baby-sitters from Cliff College: Mandey Hadley, Bryn McGlashan, Daniel Hughes, William Hepworth as well as Daniel Adock from St Columbas.

  • Children’s ministry leaders for providing ways for our children to engage with God through`out the weekend: Rosie Blackett, Rob and Cath Liley and Dan Christian.  Thanks also to Rosie for coordinating the babysitting on Friday and Saturday nights.

  • Our Youth team for the sessions through the weekend as well as providing space and time for our young people to hang out: Joseph Sheldon, Hannah Chester, Sam Chubb, Emily Jackson, Ross and Emma Draper.

  • Our musicians and singers including Ali Burke, Jane Robinson, Matthew Redfern, Emma Radford, Ben Hartley, Beth & Dave Stout, David Onac and Alistair Stevenson

  • Our operations team: Rachel McLafferty and Daniel Tarrant.

  • Last but not least, our thanks go to all those who helped staff the reception desk.

One of the joys of the weekend was the teaching offered By Daniel MGinnis.  He gave us a fascinating whistle stop tour of the book of Acts with a particular focus on the different churches in Jerusalem, Antioch and Ephesus. His power point presentations were sent out via the weekly email this earlier week, if you would like to read through them.  On the Friday evening Daniel gave us an overview of the cultural background to Acts – not least helping us to grapple with the multi-cultural and multi-religious nature of the Roman Empire.  And I for one, did not know that the city of Rome has a population of 1 million. While Antioch and Ephesus each had populations of 500,000.

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On the Saturday morning we explored the life of the churches in Jerusalem, Antioch and Ephesus.  Here Daniel helped us to see how the apostles went about planting new churches where they were known and where they had relationships.  Indeed he was very clear that Acts is all about Church-planting.  Very wonderfully Daniel made his first visit to All Saints on the day we laid on hands and sent the team to St Gabriel’s Greystones.  He reminded us that this was very much the pattern in Acts and encouraged us to consider planting more churches in the future.

Over the past year I have been meeting with the Bishop’s team and the leaders of the larger churches to think through the role of ‘resourcing churches’ in the life of the diocese.  Having discussed a first draft of a Memorandum of Understanding just before Christmas I was thrilled to receive the latest draft just as I was standing at the door welcoming people to the Big Church Weekend. I have the Bishop’s permission to share it widely, so I have included it in this bumper edition of ‘From the Vicar’.  We will not be rushing into any decisions and I will be welcoming lots of input from the Church Family.  So watch this space. 

At the end of the Big Church Weekend, members of the Church Family of all generations expressed just how much they had enjoyed being together. Indeed some of the children told me that they didn’t want to go home (Congratulations - Children & Youth leaders).  While others wanted to know when were we planning the next church weekend away (Congratulations - Rachel McLafferty).

In the meantime let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 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.

A Draft Memorandum of Understanding                                       

for the Bishop of Sheffield,

the Sheffield Diocesan Board of Finance

and a Parochial Church Council (or other governance body)

to enable the identification of ‘Resourcing Churches’

in the Diocese of Sheffield

 

In the Diocese of Sheffield, a ‘resourcing church’ is defined as a church which

*     has been formally designated as such, at the invitation of the Bishop of Sheffield and with the agreement of the Parochial Church Council

*     has entered into a formal understanding with the Bishop and the SDBF to further the Diocesan Strategy, by committing itself to a programme of church planting in negotiation with the Bishop’s senior staff

*     has agreed in good faith an indicative timescale for the next plant and a process for agreeing a favoured location

In developing and deploying Resourcing Churches, the Bishop of Sheffield will:

a)           give priority to the leaders of resourcing churches in the placing of curates for training, with a view to curate-led plants at the end of the training period

b)          meet termly with the leaders of resourcing churches to provide updates and to seek advice on the implementation of the Diocesan Strategy

c)          liaise closely with the leaders of resourcing churches in the creation and training of a pipeline of interns, lay pioneers, lay focal leaders and ordinands to sustain the future programme of church planting

In undertaking its responsibilities, the PCC of a resourcing church will

a)           commit to a minimum of one church plant every five years, involving at least 25 people with a designated lay or ordained leader

b)          work closely in partnership with the Bishop in the identification and training of potential church plant leaders, especially when these are not SDBF curates

c)           engage seriously with the strategic priorities of the Diocese in agreeing potential locations for future church plants

d)          support the implementation of the Diocesan Strategy and the culture change it requires, by contributing to training, discipling and the nurturing of gifts

In addition, the senior leaders of a resourcing church will meet termly together with the Bishop of Sheffield and/or members of his senior staff in order to shape the continuing development of the Diocesan Strategy.

+Pete, January 2019

From the Vicar January 2019

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 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.

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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:

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.

Hebrews 10:24-25

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.

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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

From the Vicar October 2018

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.

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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.

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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

Gary Wilton,

Vicar

From the Vicar February 2018

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DEFINITELY NOT PERFECT BUT DEFINITELY MAKING PROGRESS!

Welcome to the February edition of ‘From the Vicar’. Often when I sit down to write, I look back at the edition of a year ago. Last February I was writing about the near completion of the renewal of the church roof and relaying of the path from the church building down to Ecclesall Road South. I was also looking forward to the launch of the new website and the rolling out of the new logo and branding.

The new roof and the re-laid path are now much admired, and while we are still rolling out the branding, the new website, logo and branding have been widely appreciated. They so clearly speak of All Saints, that it feels as though they have been part of us for much longer than 12 months.

Last Autumn we completed a major upgrading of the main part of the existing lighting system including the welcome area, the nave and the MU chapel.  The new lights are significantly brighter and now using 90% less electricity.  Over the coming months we plan to review the lighting in the sanctuary and in the choir area.  Also last autumn we took possession of two additional chalices and two silver flagons on permanent loan from ‘The Vine’ church in Netherthorpe.  We used them for the first time on Christmas morning. The flagons are particularly impressive.

By time you are reading this, 50 of the church chairs will have returned from Hayes and Finch, refurbished and reupholstered.  At key moments during the year we will send off batches of 50 chairs at a time.

The coming weeks will see the installation of the new Fire Alarm panel and upgraded sound system.  As with all new systems, the sound system will take a little while to settle in and for the Sound Desk team to be trained. There will be the inevitable glitches and hiccups.  So thank you for your patience in advance.

Looking ahead this summer we will be tendering for significant repairs to the stone guttering and the porches.  Once these are completed the church will be 100% watertight.  We will then be able to start planning to redecorate and eventually re-carpet. As always we will proceed one step at a time and as finances allow.

WORKS AT WHIRLOW

The redevelopment works at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit have now started. They include an additional toilet, improved kitchen facilities, double glazing and new data projector and screen.  This means that Whirlow will be closed during weekdays and that the Tuesday morning communion and the Friday morning Community Bible Study Group will transfer temporarily to All Saints church building.  Please make them feel welcome and why not come along and join in.

CONGRATULATIONS TO RACHEL

1 February marks Rachel McLafferty’s first year as Operations Manager.  Her responsibilities include supporting governance, administration, communications and oversight of the estate. She has made a huge difference to ‘operations’.  We are making so much progress on many fronts because of her contributions.  On behalf of the Church Family I would like to thank and congratulate her publicly for an amazing first year in post.

LOOKING FORWARD TO LENT

Lent will be very soon upon us.  As well as the Christian Voices in the Contemporary World programme on Wednesday evenings, Lent will also begin with a special services of Holy Communion at 10.30am and 7.30pm on Ash Wednesday – 14th February.  Again this year we will prepare for Easter with Messy Church including a donkey on Palm Sunday 25th March and the Big Agape ‘Bring & Share’ Meal at 7.00pm on Maundy Thursday 29th March.  Please put these dates in your diary.

If you would like a book for Lent I would like to recommend Margaret Whipp’s  ‘The Grace of Waiting’.

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TEARFUND CONNECTED CHURCH  PARTNERSHIP

Following the very successful youth visit to the Diocese of Kilimanjaro in 2015, Charlotte Driver and Elaine Howarth are making a return visit to Tanzania this coming February.

They will be commissioned on Sunday 18 Feburary and will be away from the 28 Feb - 8 March.  Elaine was a part of the original team.  We will send them with our love and greetings to all churches and projects that they will visit. They will be based in Arusha, visiting and spending time with representatives from the Diocese of Kilimanjaro but the main focus of their visit will be at the 5 parishes that we currently support in the Babati region. Their visit will have a critical impact on our growing relationship and they will no doubt return with lots of stories and pictures to share. We send them with our huge blessings and prayers to share and will hugely look forward to their safe return and to learning about the difference that our Connected Church Partnership is making.  In the meantime please would you pray for their safe travelling and their good health while they are away.  Please would you also pray for their families in their absence.

Yours in the service of Christ Jesus

Gary

Gary Wilton, Vicar