Trendlewood Annual Meeting 2020
Where Are We Now?
This reflection, which should have been delivered in April looking back on 2019 and forward to 2020/21 feels weird. Last year I ended my reflection by saying this:
‘Christian character does not so much change life events as fashion how we respond to life events. That turned out to be strangely prophetic.’
In a year when we left our motto deliberately unchanged we sharpened our vision. We concluded that we should:
1. Employ a community worker to focus on children and young families
2. Release our Andy’s congregation to its own life
3. Go away on a church weekend to sharpen our plans for 2021
We have managed so far to achieve the one that made our church numerically smaller and not the two that would potentially grow it back again.
But as Christians in the community we have had the opportunity to achieve so much more than usual.
My reflections on 2019 feel a little out-of-date now. They are in the annual report for you to read.
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.
My thanks to our two Trinity Students who joined us in 2019 Sam and Dave. It’s good to have Dave still with us and taking a leading part in our life. Sam felt he needed a breadth of experience and we were happy to send him, Emma and Caleb off to a different placement.
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 making my life easier.
I have, on your behalf, given slightly larger gifts to Jenny, Sarah and Trevor who are standing down from key and major responsibilities after many years. I’ve found another warden. Still need a secretary and a treasurer.
This year I have also given a small gift to George to thank him for being our Gift Aid secretary over many years.
My profound thanks to Michelle for sharing the pastoral work with me and for being a person of prayer, and insight. Next year she will be signed off and will be looking to see what the next stage of her ministry might involve.
And thanks to Liz for keeping me sane most of the time. To be married to a person who can be found in any room simply by listening out for her laugh is a rare privilege.
And thanks to all of you who recently have stepped up to looking out for each other in a new and special way.
It is a privilege to be your clergy and know your care and support.
Where Are We Going?
It’s been a difficult few months for all of us. Not the 2020 we expected. We don’t know when we will be allowed to sing together, offer hugs to people or feel ready for sharing communion. Michelle’ sermon, at the start of our series on James, on trails and temptations was a clear assessment of where it feels to be us now.
The attendance figures for churches in 2019, recently released, showed a continued decline in the Church of England. Down 12% in Bath and Wells where our bishop is coping with a life-threatening illness.
I think corona-virus might have accelerated some things ending and others starting. A spiritual equivalent of turning it off and turning it back on again.
The cycle of our church life in my 14 years here has been peaks and troughs. God has always sent us the people we need to do the job he calls us to. But in a period of decline, sending us Christians from somewhere else seems to penalise another church to grow ours. 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.
And get on with planning a weekend away and an employee.