Annual Priest’s Report – Year 2009

Report for the APCM for 2009

This past year has been one of business, refreshment, joyful and solemn moments. There has been much to celebrate within the church and parish community. You will have heard via the varied Reports that life has been enriched by the coming together of many at our Services of worship, a variety of out – reaching events and the week by week engagements of groups in our church hall. Thank you to you all for your contributions to the life and ministry of our church within the community of All Hallows.

It is a great pleasure that it falls upon me at the Annual Meeting to reflect upon the pastoral matters of the church and community and to look ahead to what we will endeavour to engage with in the year to come.

This past year we celebrated many ‘good news stories’. Trevorlyn, Ryan, Jaden, Sophie, Hayden and Indiana were received into First Holy Communion. Talisa and Jaden were Baptised as well as Alice Grace. Bishop Pete came to All Hallows on Harvest festival Sunday and Confirmed Anne, Doreen and Talisa (as well as Baptising Talisa and Jaden).

We celebrated the joyful news surrounding the birth of Jaheim to Lorraine and Nigel and Kathryn to Helen and Mark. Special birthday celebrations took place within the year – Simone and Cavell both turned 16, Natasha and Jade turned 18. Ivy had a wonderful day celebrating her 90th, Elsie celebrated her 90th with a surprise family celebration at the Grym’s Dyke Hotel and Beryl celebrated her 80th with a large gathering of family and church friends at her home.

In the rhythm of life there is the sadness of coming to terms with the death of those whom we love. This past year Eileen was bereaved of her sister Babs and Birdie suffered the loss of two of her family members in close succession; Berris McIntosh and Zena Burrell. Coralita Harris sister to Calvin Armstrong also passed away unexpectedly. Rosemary and John Thorndycraft had to come to terms with the untimely death of their Niece Helen who battled through the crippling effects of cancer. Just after Christmas, the church family suffered 3 bereavements in short succession; Eileen McNamara followed by John Shaw whose funeral Services took place at All Hallows.

Quite unexpectedly and soon after John’s death we were to learn that Peggy Gibbs passed away leaving the church family very bereft of well loved community members. Peggy’s funeral Service took place in Sussex where there are many family connections with a time of giving thanks for her life to be held at All Hallows on Sunday 2nd May.

Last but not least in the order of those mentioned above, it was with great sadness that the church family learned of the sudden death of Fr. Frank Brand; long term serving Vicar of All Hallows.

Much of the above speaks of sad times at All Hallows, but the goodness we celebrate and share in all of this, is that the church family gathered together to support one another during these difficult times.

We have had many new members joining the life of All Hallows within the past year and it is constantly being told to me, that the way we rally around as a ‘family unit’ celebrating and commiserating is what makes people feel they want to be part of what is happening here.  I wish to express my appreciation for your considerable input to make good things happen beyond ours immediate interests.

Our current Mission Statement is: ‘Come in! Taste and see how good the Lord is’. This is a positive invitation which people have genuinely taken to heart. People have a desire to be part of what is on offer so it is relative and important that we, as a community church, endeavour to make the good news of Jesus Christ a living part of our lives, within our worship and vibrant as we witness to the community.

Towards the end of 2009, steps were put into place, with the sanction of the PCC to draw up a Mission Action Plan in our church to embrace the next 3 years which will enable all of us to draw upon the gifts of our church and community members. It might be important to mention here that since 1993 there has been a Mission Action Plan initiative every 3 years; 3 years giving time to deal with our plan of campaign.

For the 2009 Planning meeting, a core group of people representing the life of the church, gathered together to share thoughts about what we already do, what we would like to do and to ‘dream the impossible dreams’.

Following this, the material was sifted through and a further meeting took place of a core group of 8 who looked at the mission and ministry of All Hallows church and how we might function better as the Body of Christ which St. Paul speaks of in his letter to the Corinthians, if we involve a wider group of people from the church family and community; many members with many and specific gifts.

It is very apparent that All Hallows is gifted with talented people who are generous in their time, talent and financial giving. This too was part of the lifeblood of those from the very beginning when the Parish of All Hallows laid its first foundations.

Priest and people pulled together through prayer, hard work, steady commitment and tremendous challenge to provide a place of worship for this Parish community.

Today, we are the people who are blessed by the toils of our ancestors who were not afraid to rise to the challenge. We have much to celebrate and give thanks to God for.

You could say ‘why rock the boat and look to do things in a different way. If something has worked well in the past why encourage change’? This is a good question and deserves an answer.

Change for the sake of change can achieve nothing. It shows a degree of boredom, indifference and decay.  In the end there is no heart and soul to the cause.

Change where there is prayer, creative inward and outward thinking, discussion and activity can open us up to new ways of being the people God wants us to be.

Taking the challenge to ‘do things differently’ is truly a challenge. We have to be people who are ready to let go and let God take us into unchartered waters. Many of you here today will have explored new ways of’ being you’ in your daily living. As you have walked with God you have gone down roads which have opened up all sorts of possibilities and challenges.

Change can up – end us and disrupt our lives but it can also move us on and give us the opportunity to explore horizons once hidden. This is why we are going to be a church who encourage change; not for the sake of it but, because we are willing people who are prepared to accept the gifts God has for us which will enable us to explore the  horizons once hidden yet yearned for.

All Hallows is a church which has dedication at its heart; dedicated to God by dedicating our lives to serving His people. That is why we share the invitation ‘Come In! Taste and see how good the Lord is. Our utmost desire is to share the living good news of Jesus Christ.

All Hallows is a church which is seeing steady growth. Not just in numerical terms but also in the spirituality of its people. Services both on Sunday and week days are well attended.

People’s involvement is becoming more consistent and committed. Reaching out beyond the boundaries of the church takes place through a variety of out reach ministry; Joy in Uganda, Christian Aid, Shooting Stars Children’s Hospice, Children’s Society, Anthony Nolan Foundation, Caribbean Evening Fundraiser and the Family Fun Day. The Ealing Festival vocal Section return to All Hallows annually for the good acoustics; but more than this, they find it a place which has an atmosphere that bodes well with individuals who come to use their God given talents in the way of singing.

Reaching out takes place via our well maintained church grounds which are continually being monitored for signs of growth and decay. Just when you think no more beauty can be incorporated, a new project comes into fruition and gives people in the community an opportunity to stop rest awhile and take stock of the beauty of nature.

Our two local schools see All Hallows as a place to enhance their knowledge of the Christian Faith and in particular, Mandeville Schools, see All Hallows as a place of quiet and peaceful respite for both staff and children.

Outreach comes in the way we support our quarterly charities and in the way we healthily maintain our giving to the Common Fund which overseas the finances of the wider church.

By now you will understand that the depth and breadth of the church family needs to be included and involved so that we can harvest the gifts and celebrate the diversity of all the people whom God brings our attention to. By doing this, we are able to offer equal opportunity for each person to develop his or her potential.

Our Mission Action for 2009 – 2012 will highlight the ministry of teams. We will focus on 5 key areas identified as requiring serious consideration

Maintenance

Mission and Outreach

Hospitality

Publicity and Outreach

Fundraising

  • 2 leaders will be required for each team
  • Leaders to approach others to form teams
  • possible suitable individuals identified

We will endeavor to:

  • encourage a team spirit within the Church
  • encourage members to use and share their gifts and skills

Where, we have invited people to ‘Come in!’  Taste and see how good the Lord is’, I should like us to further this by informing ourselves and those whom we minister to, what sort of missionaries we are.

Below is the Mission Statement which I read on the notice board of a very culturally diverse Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina, one of my previous homes in America a place which I have just returned from visiting. See what you think of this and could it describe us as a church in the not too distant future?

‘To be a mission – orientated integrated church which lay and clergy alike give of their time, talent and treasure to enable us to be

Community of Christ

Community of Caring

Community of Inclusion’

As we endeavor, grow, sometimes fail, celebrate and journey together as community may we do this with the graciousness of the Father, the Commitment of the Son and the Unity of the Spirit.

May our thanks be foremost to God and our blessings upon one another as we draw this Annual Meeting to a close and look forward to scanning the horizons once hidden yet yearned for?

May God be with us as we minister together, lay and clergy alike in love, support and service throughout this year and beyond,

Pamela Heazell

Vicar All Hallows