We recently held our Church Annual Meeting, so this month I have chosen to share my report for that gathering.
‘The past year has seen a return to something of normality following the Covid Pandemic.
All of our worship, social/fundraising activities and Open Church/Oasis Café events are up and running very successfully again and our new Parish of Horndon, Orsett and Bulphan is established with one PCC. Thank you, so much, to everyone who has worked together to make all these things happen. We now also have Action Groups focusing on:
- Children and Young People
- Mission, Evangelism and Nurture
- Eco Church and Social Justice
- Fund Raising
- Pastoral Care
Thank you to everyone who has volunteered their services in these groups. And may I just remind everyone that anyone who is on the Church Electoral Roll who wishes to join any of the first 6 of these groups is welcome to do so.
I would also like to express huge thanks to my clergy colleagues, Revd Max and Revd Moji. Revd Max officially retired in March but has kindly agreed to remain serving as a Priest in this Parish, with Permission to Officiate (PTO), and we thank Revd Moji for her loving ministry as a curate with us over the past 19 months. Moji will, sadly, be moving to Darlington in the summer, to be closer to her family, where she will complete her curacy. We will miss her and wish her, and her husband Yemi, God’s blessings as they move on to pastures new.
Thank you, also, to the six Churchwardens, the PCC members, the Treasury Team, the Parish Administrator and all who serve in any other capacity in this Parish. All your hard work and commitment in the service of God and community is greatly appreciated. We give thanks to Pauline Cooper who has retired from her role as Wedding Coordinator after many years of service and to Ron Porter who has retired as PCC Secretary. We are also very grateful to the kind person who financed the new screen at Orsett Church which will enable us to show video clips and project song words.
It has been a privilege to serve in this Parish over the past year. It is so important to remember that, often, signs of God’s blessings and shoots of growth can be found in the small things.
A few of the little, but significant, highlights of my year have been:
- Parishioners asking for information about the best Bible to buy.
- A group of men, who regularly attend Open Church at Horndon, one day, spontaneously getting the wooden crosses, made by one of them, out of their pockets and laying them on the table, as proof that they carry them with them every day.
- At a Refresh Service, each person present sharing a favourite Bible verse and telling everyone why it is important to them.
- At Christmas, when it was brought to my attention that someone in one of the villages who was not known to any of us was going to be alone at Christmas, two of the Churchwardens immediately saying, ‘They can come to my house.’
- A largely lay led and funded Alpha Course where people came to faith.
- The request for a new Home Bible Study Group
These are just a few of the signs of God’s Spirit at work amongst us and I am sure that each of us could give many more examples. Let us give thanks to God for all the blessings he has given us. Let’s not forget, in our bigger plans, to look for God in the small things, and let’s press on, together, in his strength, into the future.’