We all know that 2020 did not turn out to be the year that we had hoped for in all sorts of ways. However I would like to celebrate that in the midst of that there has been growth, generosity and grace.
Growth in areas of Mission and Discipleship:
- Partnership For Missional Church PMC: PMC has continued in a modified way on Zoom but Susie Filkins has continued to lead the process despite its setbacks and frustrations and we are indebted to her for her passion and commitment to keep this going forward. Despite being on Zoom Dwelling in the Word has informed our every meeting and enabled us to go deeper in our individual spiritual lives. This together with learning the Spiritual Discipline of ‘Noticing God’ – great richness to the on line services and meetings.
Susie Filkins, Barbara Day, Andrew Morrison, Chris Todd
Mission Innovation Team (MIT)
David Lockley, Anne Harkness
- Homegroups: In September five new Home groups were set up and these have drawn in over forty people from Norton St Philip and Rode. I am encouraged to see and hear how these groups are growing in depth of discipleship and friendship. Very grateful to all the people leading these. Jo & Michael, Fergus & Rachel, Anne & Michael, Robin & Peter, Beth & Barbara.
Other Highlights for the year reflecting God’s generosity and grace to us include…
- New House for Duty person: Revd Alex Holmes – pioneering on line! Including a virtual on line dog show.
- Curate: The joining of Revd Jo Robinson as our Curate,
- ‘Noticing God’ interviews
- Zoom Coffee Morning
- Easter Experience – Holy Week
- On line services: mixed mode is here to stay big thank you to all who have taken part especially Michael Harrison, Barbara Day and of course Tony Day weaving it altogether so creatively and beautifully
Prayer: Prayer continues to be a central bedrock to all we do in parish life. Meeting together outside when we could and then moving on to Zoom during Lockdowns. More than ever we have had a growing recognition of our total dependence on God to guide and lead us by His Holy Spirit during these challenging and difficult times in new and creative ways that nurture, build and sustain faith in our communities and our church family.
Children and Family Worker: Sue Rodford started the year busy as ever with working amongst our families and the Tots and Toys group. Sadly COVID did curtail Sue’s work and so she was furloughed for several months. But she is back and in school and more opening up for next term.
Praise God for the growth of Mini Breakfast church – which at the beginning of this month had 9 families and 13 children attending.
Administrator: Ros Clarke has kept working through it all and her meticulous updating of the website and communicating across the parish with emails and pews sheets have helped keep us all informed and working together.
Service pattern: When possible to be in church we alternated Holy Communion between Norton and Rode, whilst still recording the readings, talk and prayers and releasing this recording after the service for those unable to attend. This mixed mode of working will continue even when fully back in church so those who can’t be with us one week can catch up. and that is what we are offering for Easter – complete mixed mode over 4 of the villages and Zoom Breakfast church, pre-recorded and Live Zoom NSP!
10 April Gift Day 10 – 4 in St Philip and St James Norton St Philip – towards the re-ordering. We have permission and faculty to remove the 12 central pews in NSP. Stage one is commencing as soon as possible, while use of the church building is limited. The vision is for the back area – pews and display cabinet to celebrate the history not just of the church but the whole community. So the whole building is more used by the community – the flexible space will offer the potential for wedding receptions and community events for use and hire going forward.
It remains an incredible joy and privilege to be part of this amazing team working in this beautiful area of Somerset and seeing God’s Kingdom come into our communities. It has been a tough year but good to remind ourselves that we are in this together and are all called ‘to be God’s chosen ones who are Holy and beloved – may we continue to do all we do in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through Him.’ Colossians 3 : v12 & 17.