I’ll begin this month’s article with a great big thank you. I’ve been amazed and a bit humbled by all the cards, prayers and good wishes given to me and the family since my accident. I’ve also been humbled by the way in which the parish pulled together over the summer. What we saw was unity and common purpose under God.
In church we are the Body of Christ or perhaps better put, the family of God. Someone said to me recently that church for her was like a second family. This and many other comments have shown this over the years. A family needs to work together and love each other in unity and that is what we do at Christ Church.
I have been in Drayton for seven years now and we have seen many changes for the better. When I arrived we took the direction of reordering the church and building up our links with the community. We set out to be a welcoming and caring church, which for the most part we have succeeded in. One of the greatest joys in church is seeing loads of new people joining our family. Sometimes I look out and think about how long most of us have been coming to church, many of the congregation have only joined our family in the last seven years.
Scarily 2017 looms large in the near future, new years often bring us to new beginnings. In the bible the people of Israel often worked in cycles of seven years. Seven years ago we took the vision of being a Traditional, Welcoming and Caring church. The question then is what is our vision for the next few years? Where do we want to go? What is good about Church and what could we do with changing?
In the old days, vicars were the people who thought they knew best and the lay people were those who either listened or complained about the vicar. That is not the way we have living in our family in Christ Church. We try and do things together in unity as a family. Whatever we do in church must I believe come from the family itself not just a few or the vicar. What we do must be owned by the people.
When I started in the priesthood in Blackpool the church had very recently been reordered so it could be used by the community and church family. I arrived six months after the building work was finished. The people however hated the changes, so very few in the community used the church at all. The vision for the build was only from the vicar so it just didn’t work. When we rebuilt the back of church it was done in unity and the people loved it. Now we do so much, not just because of the building, but because of the unity of the people.
So where do we go for the next seven years? What do we do? What do we stop doing? What is good and what should we do differently or not at all? Between October and January we will send round a survey asking some questions such as these. It is a chance for everyone to have a say and to be part of our church family’s future. In January the PCC will meet and decide on a way forward from the survey, then in Lent we will launch our new vision.
So watch out for the survey and please make your voice heard.
Fr Hywel Snook, Parish Priest