I believe that we have much to celebrate and to be thankful for as a church family as we look back on 2016.
Inevitably, a review of this sort will miss out some things, but perhaps I might start at the end of the year with Christmas. The church was packed for our annual Carol Service; there really was no room at the inn for the Crib Service attended by around 500 people and many of our other services were well attended too. However, one highlight of Christmas for me was Beer and Carols at the Three Horseshoes. This was the first time we had held an event like it and we were overwhelmed by the numbers who attended. Again, it was standing room only in the pub. A wonderful evening of carols, reflection and fellowship enjoyed by pub regulars, others in the local community and members of St. Peter’s. I am grateful to the landlords, to Mark Fuller and to our worship band for making this evening possible. I hope it will be the first of many such occasions.
One aspect of Beer and Carols which excites me is that it is a direct response to Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples”. At no time did Jesus say that we were to sit in church and wait for people to come to us. For sure we should welcome people when they do come in to the building for services or for any other reason, but our primary call is to take the Gospel outside of the church building and into the local community – be that the pub, the shopping centre, the doctor’s surgery, or wherever. I hope and pray that we will all be inspired by the success of Beer and Carols to do more to take the Gospel into our communities. Our faith is something we should wear on our sleeves and not hide wherever we go.
I wrote last year that one of our challenges for 2016 was to re-consider our vision as a church. As I reflected and prayed on this throughout the year and listened to your comments I concluded that there was nothing wrong with our vision. What is needed is not a new vision for St. Peter’s. Rather, what is needed is to encourage more of us to help implement our vision. Our biggest challenge in 2017 is, I believe, to embrace fully this vision and to live it out 24/7.
Read the full report.
Read the minutes from the meeting on 2nd April 2017.