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Vicars Quarterly update
Vicar’s Quarterly Update, 18th Feb 2018
Every three months or so, for the past year now, I’ve done a ‘Quarterly Update’ over coffee one Sunday. It started at our APCM last March; and it’s been a way of giving an bit of an overview of what’s been happening at All Saints over the last 3 months. So I’ve had a look through my diary for the past few months, and it’s amazing now much has happened over that time.
My last update took place on the 5th November – the day after our very successful Fireworks Event; and we’ve had other equally enjoyable social events over the past few months. At the end of November we held our first ever ‘Murder Mystery’ at Willow Grange. If you were there you’ll remember that it was an evening of high drama and delicious food! Many thanks to Andy Wells for the entertainment, and the Events Team for a wonderful meal. Then just a few weeks ago we had our Quiz Night, with our own Quiz-Master Robin Holdsworth – and delicious food once again from Trish and Event; it was a sell out as ever, and a really good church and community event. And on Tuesday this week we held our first ‘Pancakes and Table Games for the over 50s’ – a lovely afternoon which made me grateful for the fact that I now qualify as part of that age group. So social events have been great over the past few months.
Another very special event has been the completion of phase one of the Windows Project – at the end of our Jubilee Year. The windows arrived a couple of days after my last Quarterly Update; and amazingly were installed by the end of the year. We set ourselves to replace the damaged Louvre windows; and due to many people’s generosity, we managed to replace the chapel/office and toilet windows as well. We even managed to complete the painting and redecorating of the office/lobby/toilet, by the end of the year. And a huge ‘thank you’ goes to Paddy and the Premises VG for their work in making this happen – and we’ll look forward to Phase 2 of the Windows Project, as that begins to develop. Thank you too for your generous response to our Stewardship Campaign, which means that we can now pay our way out of planned giving – another goal we set ourselves for our Jubilee Year.
The last 3 months have been a rich time in terms of our Worship too – including Remembrance Sunday, Advent and Christmas. Our Remembrance Service, was up by about 30% in terms of numbers, with more Uniformed Organisations joining us this year – 7 in total I think. Then fairly quickly we moved into the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Advent began with an All-Age Communion Service in the morning, our Youth Led Service in the evening, and a beautiful Advent Carol Service at St. Nicolas’ Church in the evening – a snapshot of the breadth of our Worship at All Saints now. Before we knew it the Sunday Club (as it was then) began rehearsing for the Nativity; and the excitement mounted week by week as Emily Moulden and Maddy Payne gave us weekly updates on progress. The final result on Christmas Eve was truly memorable. The Carol Service was beautiful as ever, and enhanced by our Children’s Choir – for the second year running. Christmas Day was memorable too – as I lost control of the younger children inside a play-tent; and they had to be rescued by parents who were clearly at an unfair disadvantage when endeavouring to retrieve their offspring from the tent!
Our Worship has continued to develop over the past few months too. I poignant service was ‘Living with Loss’ at the end of November, which Pippa led; and it was lovely to have an opportunity to invite back families for whom I’d taken funerals over the past year – as well as others who are living with losses of various kinds. A high point of this year so far has been Emily Burch becoming Guildford Diocese’s first ever ‘Young Preacher of the Year’, and preaching in the Cathedral in January; a fine sermon by anybody’s standards! And it’s been good to launch our new ‘Altogether Worship’ this year, following on from WFE – as we aim to make that first Sunday morning of the month more accessible for children, whilst remaining meaningful for everyone; and it will be good to reflect on how that’s going at my next Quarterly Update.
You probably know we’ve put a lot of time and energy into Safeguarding over the past 3 months – to comply with the Church of England’s new National Safeguarding Policy. I spend many hours writing about 70 Role Descriptions for all the different Roles at All Saints; and I was amazed once again and just how much we do! A big thank you to everyone who has signed those RDs – or signed many of them in some cases. Thank you to everyone who’s attended Training, or been Safely Recruited for new roles. I’ve found it a really useful piece of work, and think it has helped us to understand more clearly all that goes on at All Saints, and to value each other and all that we do more carefully. So a big thank you to Julie Lodge and the Safeguarding Team for a huge amount of work there over the past few months.
Other things continue: our work in schools – QE, Onslow Infants, the Montessori Nursery; and we’re very much looking forward to the Prayer Space at Onslow next week. Funerals have increased recently, and it’s good that Pippa is now on board to help with those. Pastoral Care continues within the Church and the Community; and the Pastoral Team has enlarged it’s vision to care for members of Dray Court in a more meaningful way over the past few months.
So: I think we’re in fairly good shape, and that last year was a wonderful Jubilee Year. Next month sees our APCM, when we’ll look back over the past year, and plan for the months and years ahead. From my point of view it feels a privilege to be the Vicar of All Saints at this stage in the life of our parish; and I look forward with faith and hope to all that lies ahead in 2018, and beyond.
Revd Beverly Watson 14th Feb 2018
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