- Vicarage Gate
- GU2 7QJ
Vicars Quarterly update
Vicar’s Quarterly Update, 5th November 2017
Following on from the APCM in March, the PCC decided it would be good to have a 3 -monthly, verbal update from the Vicar, as a means of communicating all that’s happening in our church. We’ve had one so far since then, on the 9th July; and today is the second.
So, what’s been happening over the past 3 months or so?
Well July and August were a bit quieter, following on from our ‘50 Days for 50 years’. There was a bit of time for all who worked really hard over those days, and in preparation for those days, to take things more gently. Some of us were able to take holidays; others stayed at home, and enjoyed the summer season.
‘Core’ things continued throughout July: our Sunday Services, Messy Church, PCC and VG meetings, Sunday Club, Dray Court Services, the Men’s Lunch, our Small Groups etc etc. And a special event over that time was our Strawberry Tea and Produce Sale in the Vicarage garden; the weather was just about good enough to wander round the garden, and copies amounts of tea+cake were sold. Many thanks to the Events Team for that!
August was quite quiet; but a significant event was Rebecca Brown starting work at the church office. Rebecca is now working 4 mornings a week, which is making a huge difference to the admin at All Saints. We now have broadband, a much newer computer, a high quality photocopier (collected for free from a local charity), better communication, and more efficient filing systems. So that’s a big step forward for us, and very helpful to me.
Things picked up again in September, beginning with our Church Family Picnic on the 3rd September; and the launch of our new Youth Led Service. It’s been great to see children and young people in this church taking a lead, and growing in faith and confidence as they’ve done that. The Youth Led Service is the third new Service we’ve started over the past 18 months – Messy Church, then Dray Court, and now the Youth Led Service. It means that more people are worshipping regularly in this parish, and we’re able to offer a greater variety of types of services, and opportunities for people to belong. That’s been very encouraging for me to see.
The Church of England launched a new National Safeguarding Policy a few months ago, which is having quite a big impact on how every church operates – including us here at All Saints. We’re having to think more carefully about everything we do, and give more considered attention to who we are and the way we do things. That’s been a lot of work for me and the Safeguarding Team; and there’s been resistance among some, in complying with the new Policy. As you know, I was off work for 2 weeks in September/October, when the challenges around Safeguarding in particular got on top of me. I’m pleased to say that I’m much better now; and I sense that we’re now working together much better, to make sure our church is a more loving, caring, considerate and safe environment. And I’m very grateful to Pippa, and the Wardens, and everyone who ‘held the fort’ while I was away.
September saw the funeral of Andy Morgan, a dearly loved and very long-standing member of All Saints; and many people gathered to give thanks for his life, and to celebrate his example of faith. It also saw our PCC Away Morning at Willow Grange, led by the Venerable Julian Hubbard.
October began with our Harvest Festival, and was followed by 3 Harvest Festivals for our local schools – Queen Eleanor and Onslow Infants. We also held a ‘Prayer Space’ for a week at QE, which was ably led by Pippa our curate, and a team from All Saints. And last Sunday we celebrated our Patronal Festival, with 3 services across the day, including Choral Evensong in the evening, with joint choirs from St. Nicolas and the URC; that was a very special day for us, in this our Jubilee year.
And finally, looking forwards, our new windows are due to arrive on Tuesday! As part of our 50 Years Celebrations, we set ourselves the goal of replacing the louver windows – which was a requirement of our Quinquennial report, almost 5 years ago. And by God’s grace, we’re on the cusp of achieving that goal. The money for the project came in the form of donations from the congregation, and others who gave a gift in memory of a loved one; and I’d like to say a big thank you to all who gave so generously. We’re hugely grateful to Paddy Payne who’s headed up the project – at the same time as delivering a very successful Fireworks Event last night! – and also to the Premises Vision Group, who’ve supported Paddy in his work. There are likely to be a few challenges ahead as the Windows are installed over the next couple of weeks; and we’ll need to move a few weekday services to the Vicarage over that time. But it will be business as usual on Sundays – including Remembrance Sunday in two weeks time – and hopefully by the end of the month our church will be transformed, full of light, and holding on to its heat! It’s a very exciting project.
So, thank you for listening. And thank you for the continued privilege of being your Vicar here at All Saints.
Revd Beverly Watson