Two months until my time with the Diocese of Chichester comes to an end and I continue to say farewells to numerous groups and people as well as other ongoing ministry.
Older People was the focus of a PCC Away Day held at Bell House, Chichester. This was linked in with their MAP which had engaging with ‘older people’ as part of their mission. I haven’t really focusedon older people before and so this was an interesting challenge. The morning was given over to four 30 minutes sections. Each section introduced an aspect of engaging with older people (60+), a short discussion and then one action point from each of the four groups. We then voted on the action we liked best. That gave us four action points and a number of subsidiary action points. We focused on, Music, Golden Memories, Change and Decay (in all around I see) and Spirituality. In the afternoon we brought all of this into the context of the overall mission strategies and the MAP.
This, by the way, is going to be the main focus of my new appointment, helping parishes with the Mission Action Plans and Growth Strategies.
One of the things I will miss is the coast and it was great to be able to take part in a fantastic Harvest of the Sea at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Brighton. This is a very large open church building which was filled with all manner of things appertaining to fishing. This included fresh fish for sale after the Service.
Germinate was a one day Rural Conference organised by the Arthur Rank Centre and attracted 200 delegates. I had the delight (and somewhat daunting) challenge of presenting a Rural Evangelism Workshop – two forty minute sessions back to back. The ‘rural church’ seems to be finding a prophetic voice and discovering new ways of being church and engaging with communities. Check out this link for material. www.germinate.net/go/germinate .
Everybody Welcome – I have been working alongside St Peter’s Bexhill going through this excellent course. They have been presented with some real challenges especially from the ‘strangers’ reports.’
One of the things I hope to pick up quickly when I move is a regular Quiet Day. If you have the opportunity of taking some time out like this I can highly recommend it.
Visit to Stafford - towards the end of the month Jane and I had an extended weekend in Stafford. First it was a weekend spent with my sister-in-law Alison who moved up near Oswestry a couple of years ago. It was great to join her at Hope Church in Oswestry. On ‘welcome’ - top marks to Hope Church as we were approached in a gentle manner, they had picked up we had come along with Alison. However I still took (for interest) the Welcome Bag, a little paper bag with an array of items including a chocolate bar and a CD introducing the Church and other helpful material. Then on Monday/Tuesday we began a bit of a house search. This is all very scary as there are so many things that need to mesh together if this is to come to good and we can feel settled quickly. We are currently looking to rent so we need the right size house, remembering we have lived in Vicarage size houses for the last twenty years so have built up Vicarage sized furniture! There is also need for a study/office space alongside all the resources I have built up over the years – that includes a two berth caravan. The price has to be right as well, because alongside paying rent we are now going to be responsible for Council Tax and Water Rates. Currently we only have the one car and so something else we are looking for is accessibility, not only for various obvious facilities, like cafés, shops, doctors and dentist, but a good supportive Church. All of this, plus arranging removals, has to come to good by the end of this year with a move planned for the first week in January!