As we are looking forward in this year, I want to highlight some events and initiatives that we have planned to connect to the community, to strengthen our own sense of community and to aim at spiritual and missional growth.
There are occasions that we have long planned, such as Brass on the Grass on 19 February. Also in February we will begin the Pre-Marriage course. Not that I think that many current parishioners will attend this course, but it is something we can offer the community. If you know of any couples contemplating marriage, this is a good course for them, whether Christian or not.
The last Sunday in February is the first Sunday in Lent. That means that Lenten Studies will be offered again. This time we have decided to use Leading your Church into Growth material, a series of videos and group discussions. It would be great if you could indicate the day and time most suitable for that. Later in the year, after feedback from other Parishes, we may offer the study “A holy Church” by the Diocese, which seeks to respond abuse within the Church. It would also be great to run an Alpha Course at some point in the year to help people explore the big questions of life.
Some initiatives would also come out of a Mission Action Planning process which I and the wardens propose could be led by Mark Chamberlain, the Archdeacon for Mission and Regeneration in the Diocese. As part of that we will also need to look again at some property decisions: the use and/or sale of the tennis court land and vicarage land, and the development of the hall complex in cooperation with Te Papanui Trust. We are working on these options and your input is crucial.
I now that many of you are focused on issues that are affecting you personally more immediately.
I hope that we as a Church community can support each other in some difficult situations. Still, we also need to look ahead and plan for the parish.