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