Dearest friends,

Let us first and foremost give thanks and praise to the Lord our God for the ways in which we have grown in unity under Christ as a church family over the last few months. It has been a wonderful privilege to see and hear of how so many people have contributed to church life over the summer, seeking to serve the Lord and His people. Thank you all for your continued contributions in supporting the ministry here, even if it has put you outside of your ‘comfort zone’. By God’s grace we have much to be grateful for as he continues to build His church. Paul’s encouragements of Colossians 3 spring to mind when reflecting on how we relate to one another; “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (v15-17, ESV).

Many of you will no doubt be wondering how the consultation on the vision document went. There was a hugely encouraging response, with 48 questionnaires being received (from individuals, couples and families). Thank you for your engagement in this important initiative. As a PCC it is vital that we can present views from the breadth of the church family when we meet, so hearing from so many was an encouragement to us all. May we assure you that each response has been carefully read and considered, and your comments have been greatly appreciated. The responses were understandably varied, but some clear themes presented themselves. These themes were presented to the PCC in September and were subsequently shared with John the week before his return from extended study leave. As you will no doubt be aware, John’s current health situation means that he is on sick leave, so further discussions with him will commence on his return – we have had to hit the ‘pause’ button in these unforeseen circumstances!

At this point it is perhaps worth remembering that the purpose of the questionnaire was to enable the PCC to collate your views on John’s proposed vision document and formulate them in a way that enables fruitful discussions with John. It is an exciting time to be shaping the vision in the light of such helpful feedback from the church family, and we look forward to launching the new vision plans once they are ready. However, this process will take longer than initially planned and the timeframe will be guided by how John’s recovery is going and what his return to work will look like. Whilst this delay may seem frustrating we must “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

With love, in Christ. Dave & Ray (Churchwardens)

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