Happy New Year!
As we begin a new year it is traditional and natural to look backwards as well as forwards – to take stock as it were. We do this of course in our personal lives, and it is helpful too to do this in church terms.
It has been a busy year in the parish, and I feel there are signs of continuing growth. There have been challenges, perhaps particularly in maintaining our buildings, and hard work by some people in particular has helped us to meet those challenges. In November we had the Archdeacon’s Visitation, when we had to discuss many aspects of the life of our parish with the area dean and lay chair (who represent the archdeacon in this). We said we felt our churches are growing and had to justify this assessment. It is true that growth in numbers is slow, but there are other, more significant, signs of growth. Gradually we are involving people more in both social events and fundraising. Instead of ‘delegating’ responsibility for fundraising to a few people this is being shared more.
I would like to encourage more people to be involved, especially on a “one off” basis. If you have an idea please do raise it with others and talk to clergy or wardens. We must not think that because someone has always done something no one else can be involved. If we are to go on growing and developing as a Christian community we need a regular input of new people, new ideas and so on!
More important though is taking stock of where each one of us is spiritually. As we begin a new year I would like to encourage everyone to think about where he or she is with God. We are a Christian community, and the strength of our witness to the Good News comes from each individual being as close to God as possible. Do we all make space in our lives to listen to Him and his plans for us?
Here in Leesfield there are people whom God is calling to be more active in his church, people who have a calling, a vocation, to lay or ordained ministry. Without these people coming forward, and being trained, the future of the church looks uncertain! If you think this might be you, please discuss it with one of the clergy. We can listen and provide some information and guidance.
So, this month, recognise and celebrate the good things in the parish, think about your role here and in the wider church, and remember it is still Christmas and continue to celebrate the coming of the Christ child.