Trendlewood Annual Meeting 2021
2021 Where Are We Now?
This is not my report to the Annual Meeting on the church’s life in 2020. That document is in the annual report. These are my reflections on the future.
As many of you have picked up, this will be my final ACM here.
My thanks, as ever, to Duty Wardens, musicians, children’s leaders, intercessors, prayer ministers, pastoral team, readers (capital and lower case R), projectionists, preachers, worship leaders, home group leaders, Deanery Synod and Christians Together reps, chair movers, welcomers, coffee handlers, PA team and in 2020, our technical team and volunteer cleaners.
My thanks to our Trinity Student David Smith. He has offered us much and we are delighted that he will stay on for one more year.
I have given a small gift to our two Church Wardens, treasurer and secretary. I offer them to just four people – it is a thanks not a reward. The gifts are from me to say thank you for the support. As I can’t afford to give you all gifts consider them representative gifts, deserved by many but received by a few.
My thanks to Michelle for all she does, especially in a difficult year for a people person. Please pray for her and the family as they seek the next stage of ministry now she is ‘signed off’ to look for her next post.
Where Are We Going?
Here are four things that excite me as we head into 2021/22
Living in Love and Faith (LLF):
The Church of England have released a massive report for discussion on gender and relationships – a hot topic. David Smith and I will be inviting people to join us for a five session course in the autumn to discuss the material using the many online and printed resources available. We will aim to create a safe space where people can share openly and confidentially. We will further aim to make our church more inclusive, seeking to see ways that we might have accidentally blocked entry to others.
Last year I ended my reflection by saying this:
‘The cycle of … church life … has … peaks and troughs. God has always sent us the people we need to do the job he calls us to. … We need to get better at growing our church through conversion. As soon as we can I would like us all to do the Talking Jesus course. To help us get better at telling our stories to others.’
It is good that a decent number of folk are tackling this. The new Town Centre Chaplaincy scheme will give us a further opportunity to make new contacts. I hope that people will want to get involved as it goes live in the autumn.
Amongst the many posts we filled last year we also found Courtney to chair the Community Festival. It is a delight to know this will happen again and its timing looks pretty perfect as a way to celebrate community life afresh armed with people who will be ready to serve and talk about Jesus. Do put Saturday August 28th in your diaries.
It might be difficult to avoid the question of a new minister becoming all-encompassing. That should not happen. Most of the people in this church are not leaving.
It has been flattering to hear people say from time to time that they would love to get another Steve. Thank you to those of you who have been saying ‘Please, not another Steve’ for the sensitive way you have avoided saying it to me.
I have a charge to you. You don’t need another Steve. The job in 2006 needed, it was clear, a pastor with some experience of churches coming through trying times. I had been ordained for over 20 years when I arrived here. The job going forward is now in a position where you could support someone with vision, passion, energy and a little less experience.
The Church Council, without me in the room, have created a parish profile for Trendlewood Church to attract a new minister. The person appointed, instead of having a town-wide focus as I have had as the other part of my job, will also be Rector of Wraxall with Failand. We are an experiment. You’d expect nothing less. To have no vacancy period is a joy. I am looking forward, if the appointment process goes well, to working alongside my successor for a few months and allowing them to step up as I step back. It’s a risk, but it’s nice to finish with a new risk.
The future is exciting and also unknown. When was it ever not? God does not provide maps. He is someone to follow who knows the way. Who could ask for more?