This letter comes at the start of a new school year, and the start of a new, exciting phase in the life of St. John the Divine. We have new clergy, new programs, and movement towards a new vision for our community as we continue to give thanks for growth, life, friendship and shared ministry in our church.
Starting up again.
This letter will only touch on a few things which are happening at St. John’s, as there will be a more substantial Thanksgiving letter in a few weeks, but there are a few things I would like to mention.
This Sunday, the 11th September, our youth and families ministry programs begin again in earnest. I am very pleased to say that Ruth MacIntosh, with the support of the Parish Council, has accepted my appointment as Part Time Youth and Family Ministry Co-ordinator, having held the post as interim for over a year! It continues to be a great pleasure to have Ruth as a colleague. Her experience, energy and vision have given, and continue to offer, a great deal to our ministry to all ages.
Our music program begins again on the 11th with the return of our choirs. We are grateful for all the energy and effort that David and all of our musicians put into the musical and worshipping life of our Parish and look forward to what lies in store in the coming year. If there is anyone who would like to take part in either of our choirs, please talk to David and he will offer an informal audition in the coming weeks.
Also Sunday we have our Welcome Back Barbecue – which this year is being headed up by our Parish Council members. It’s a great opportunity to socialise, get to know one another, and relax together. We are considering ways in which our community can regularly connect and relax together – and I am happy to receive suggestions for social and community events.
Revision, Reflection, Renewal
In the weeks ahead I will be finalising the constitution of a Worship and Liturgy Group which will consider all aspects of our shared worshipping life. This group will be reviewing our worship provision, building on those things which are working well, seeking to support those who offer liturgical/musical ministry, and considering possibilities for our worship together. The Clergy, in consulation with members of the parish, are also reconsidering the Pastoral Ministry of St. John’s – looking at ways in which we can meet the many and varied pastoral needs of our community. We are seeking to make it as straightforward as possible to contact with the pastoral team, including a dedicated email address (pastoral@stjohnthedivine) and a direct phone number We will keep you updated with any and all developments in this process. This review of pastoral provision will go hand in hand with considering how we can all take a part in the mutual care and support of one another as members of the body of Christ in St. John’s.
One of the things we committed to do at Vestry was to seek to inform the parish when there were specific changes to our investments, one such change has been the designation of $100,000 to service the cost of ministry in the parish – what we are calling a Ministry Fund. This money is specifically for ministerial costs, particularly salaries or honoraria and will be drawn upon as need arises by the treasurer or administrator in consultation with the wardens. Regular updates of finances are posted on the Website and in the church, as well as minutes of all PC meetings, and if there is anything which is unclear, please ask your wardens, PC members. Staff and clergy are all very happy to answer any questions, and if unable to answer, will work hard to point you towards someone who can!
There is much to be thankful for in the life of our community, but I will say more in our Thanksgiving letter in just a few weeks. Thank you all for your ongoing support, your friendship, and our partnership in the Gospel.
With love and prayers for you all,