LETTER FROM THE VICAR
Pentecost is now past and we are facing forward, empowered by the spirit of God, to proclaim Jesus to the world. This month sees the remembrance of Barnabas. He was not one of the 12 Apostles but he is seen to be a very significant figure in the church at Jerusalem. Barnabas was entrusted to go to Antioch, where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians, and when he met the large number of new believers he "exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith." (Acts 11)
Barnabas is a role model for us as Christians today; we all need to remain steadfast in our devotion and faith, to show goodness in our lives and to reveal the Holy Spirit who lives within us. That has always been the task of ministry, from the earliest church until today. It is never an easy journey, as the Acts of the Apostles and the many letters at the end of the New Testament demonstrate.
I have written before about our efforts to recruit a children's and families worker and we set up a Mission Fund, which many of you have donated to, in order to raise the salary for the worker. Although the fund has grown it will be some time before there is enough in it to employ somebody for about 3 years, which was the length of contract the PCC felt was necessary for the worker to be effective. Church of the Ascension have tried to use some funds of their own to recruit a worker for that part of the parish, but have so far been unsuccessful in attracting someone to a 10 hour per week post.
St Mary's Church Council has therefore decided, with the permission of the people who donated part of the money, to set up a new fund named "Saint Mary's youth and education fund", which will have a general-purpose of educating people from the Saint Mary's district of the parish. The money given by particular people will be transferred into this new account and the balance of £486, which comprises anonymous donations given from both churches, will be used to administer the salary of a children's and family worker, when we can recruit somebody at Church of the Ascension. The old Mission Fund has now been closed.
It is disappointing that we haven't been able to create a post yet, to cover the whole parish, as we originally hoped. But that was the kind of life that the early church experienced as well. There were advances and setbacks, but they remained faithful and pressed ahead, which is what we too must do. You can give money to the Saint Mary's youth and education fund and it is hoped that, in time, this money will be used to recruit a worker for children and young people.
Thank you to those of you have already given to the old Mission Fund. Your donations will be used for a worker as soon as we can employ somebody. Please pray for our Jigsaw family service at the Ascension, for all of our after-school clubs and for Sunday school at Saint Mary's. Pray for the people who help out and maybe consider volunteering to help with family and children's ministry yourself?
Another piece of news is that Rev Jane Arnold will be stepping down as Associate Priest in this parish from the end of May. I want to express our gratitude to her for the support that she has been able to give the parish, over the past years. She won't be disappearing, but Rev Jane will have permission to officiate in the diocese, so she will still be taking services with us fairly regularly and doing some work at Church of the Ascension school. With the departure of Rev Sue Oliver at the end of July, which I spoke about last time, inevitably, there will be fewer communion services from August onwards. It may be that if you want to attend a Communion service then, some weeks, you may have to go to a different church in the parish than the one you usually do. Keep an eye on the notice boards once August arrives, where I always display the Sunday services in the parish, at both churches. We are fortunate that Fr. Mel is around at the moment and giving some cover in the summertime.