- Vicarage Gate
- GU2 7QJ
Vicars Quarterly update
Vicar’s Quarterly Update, 23rd June 2019
If you’ve been coming to All Saints for a while you’ll know that every 3 months or so we have a ‘Vicar’s Quarterly Update’. It’s been happening for the past couple of years now; and the idea is that I give a little overview of the past 3 months – a snapshot of some of what’s been happening.
The last update was at our APCM on the 24th March, and was a review of the whole year. Today we’ll be looking at the months since then. So what’s been going on?
Well at the APCM we elected our church officers for the coming year – Wardens, Treasurer, PCC secretary and PCC members, and sides-people. And I’m pleased to report that we’ve got a great team for this year. We now have 2 Wardens and also 2 Deputy Wardens, which spreads the load well, and provides a strong basis for our work and ministry here. The new PCC met for the first time on the 15th April, for an Induction Meal at Willow Grange; and there are lots of interesting items on our agenda for the months ahead.
Very quickly after the APCM we moved towards the events of Holy Week and Easter. We had a good Lent this year, with 2 Courses running simultaneously – one in the daytime and one in the evening. And more people attended than in previous years – some 25 or so. A high point of Holy Week and Easter this year was Palm Sunday, with the appearance of Valentine – a donkey, along with her handler Alex. I really enjoyed our procession from the Village Square to All Saints, and Valentine’s brief appearance in church! And I’ve already booked Valentine again for next year.
Another significant Easter event was the visit of QE school, for their Easter Services. QE school has had a change of leadership recently, and is now aiming to become more ‘distinctively Christian’. This is opening up new opportunities for us to work with the school; and one such opportunity has been Easter Services at All Saints. Up until now we’ve hosted Harvest and Christmas Services – alongside school assemblies, Prayer Spaces, Messy Church etc. But Easter Services are a new venture – and more distinctively Christian than Harvest say. So 360 pupils joined us over 2 mornings, along with 30 or so staff; and they were joyful occasions.
Another occasion for joy, taking place just before Easter, was the installation of our long-awaited new Sound System. Over the past year or so we’ve been inviting donations for the project, applying for funding from various sources, and planning details of the project. And finally, just in time for Easter, the new System was up and running. Some fine tuning has been needed; but now the upgraded microphones, sound desk, speakers and other elements are now working – and it’s making a huge difference to our ability to hear well during Services. A big thank you to Simon Doran who has masterminded the project, and to those who’ve given generously to make this happen. It’s a great resource for us and for the wider community.
Easter marked some farewells too this year. A farewell to Pippa our curate, who’d been with us for 2 years; Pippa has moved on to Christ Church in Woking, her previous home church, and is getting on well there. Pippa gave a huge amount during her brief time with us; and the legacy of her work continues here. On Easter Sunday Mike Truman, one of our LLMs retired from preaching, after 20 years’ service at All Saints; and it’s good to see Mike sitting in the pews now, and enjoying a well earned break from his preaching ministry. We also said farewell to William Lowries, who’d been with us for 3 months, during his training to be an LLM. So some changes have taken place over the past few months.
There have been some final farewells during the past few months too – with the funeral of our dearly beloved Bernard Parke; Bernard was a longstanding member of All Saints, a PCC member, and a significant voice within the local community – and he’s sadly missed. Bernard’s funeral was closely followed by the death of Jill Hendersen – another dearly loved, long term member of All Saints. And then just a few weeks ago, the funeral of Irene Harriss, who some of us knew. Those are losses for all of us, but we thank God for Bernard and Jill and Irene’s lives – all that was good in them, the blessing they were to us and the wider community, and the memories of them we continue to treasure.
Since Easter we’ve pressed ahead with new ventures; and a particularly special one was the Pilgrimage to Winchester, taking place over the May bank holiday weekend. This was ably led by our Missions Vision Group, and involved a Walk over 3 days, ending up at Winchester Cathedral for Evensong on the Sunday. Some of our heartier members walked the whole way – well done to Peter+Carolyn and Richard Hemingway in particular; and others joined for part of the way. Then a group of us drove to Winchester on the Sunday for Evensong – meeting up with the walkers for the climax of the Pilgrimage. It was a sponsored Walk, and we raised a significant amount of money for our Mission Partners – the Koens.
The Missions Group also led our Christian Aid week events this year, also taking place in May. We delivered envelopes to local houses, and raised money via a Car Wash and Cake Sale on the Village Hall car park. It was a good way of advertising Christian Aid more widely within the local community; and again a good amount of money was raised. So thank you to the Missions Vision Group.
A lot has been happening with our children and young people since Easter too. After sterling work as our Children’s Church Leaders, Andy and Linda have moved on to support and lead at Altogether Worship – on the first Sunday of each month. Andy and Linda brought energy and fun to Children’s Church, and were greatly appreciated; and I’d like to thank them again for their work today. Julie Lodge kindly offered to oversee Children’s Church for this term, and things are going well; we’ve seen good numbers of children in church over the past couple of months, including some new, younger children. So thank you to Julie for stepping up for us there – alongside your other roles as our Safeguarding Officer, PCC member, flower team member etc etc.
The work among our young people has developed too, over the past couple of months. We opened our Matrix Hub on the 12th May – a Youth Hub for young people from All Saints and also the local community. We had 6 young people at the opening event, and 9 at the June event; so that’s encouraging. We’ve also refreshed the Youth Led Programme – to include a termly social event, a termly ‘sustenance’ event (to develop their spiritual lives), and a termly Youth Led Service. That’s gone well so far, with a Pilgrimage to St. Martha’s church – and an event planned for this afternoon at Willow Grange. We’re grateful to Rob and Cally Burch for offering their home for the Sustenance events, Clare Truman for supporting those events; and also to Julie Shaw and Jo Dwyer for continued commitment to our young people.
There are lots of other things I could mention: our Pentecost Services, and the Beacon event at the Cathedral; our Work Mornings – including a Gardening Morning and a Spring Cleaning Morning; the development of a Preaching Group for our newer preachers and those in training; a new choir trainer – Karen Taylor, whose leading our Choir this term; and lots of other things – please forgive me if I’ve missed anything particularly significant. But hopefully that gives you a snapshot of some of the key events over the past few months. Thank you again for all you do and for the wonderful people you are. And I continue to hope and pray that the Lord will continue to bless us, to bring new people to be part of us, and to help us grow and develop and serve him better in the months and years ahead.
Revd Beverly Watson