Some important decisions from your Council
Over the past few months your Council has been praying about, discussing and deciding on two ‘big’ issues. The first is the offer from our Diocese to engage in mission planning with a consultant, Bruce Houston. Bruce has assisted many parishes in a vision based approach to outreach and serving their communities, and how to make meaningful and lasting links beyond the church doors. Bruce is independent of the Diocese in that there is no sense of influence from them nor is there any ‘reporting back’.
Bruce visited us a few months ago and after careful and prayerful deliberation we have decided unanimously to commit to this process, and to working with Bruce to see where God is leading us together in this community. The initial steps will involve a small sub-group who will work with Bruce to discern the way ahead. This is not restricted to Council members, so if you believe that maybe this is ‘you shaped’, please let me know and we can discern the way ahead together. These are exciting times and we are grateful for the knowledge, experience and sensitivity that Bruce is willing to share with us. Watch this space…….
We have also been digging in deep concerning our priorities as a Bible based family of faith who seek to honour God and serve Him with our lives and our lips.
Tithing is something that all are encouraged to do as a response to the gifts that are first given to us, from God. As you know there are Old Testament principles concerning giving the ‘first fruits’ and that this was offered at a level of 10%.
There are many examples in our scriptures of people giving back to God, sometimes being a portion and sometimes being absolutely everything. Indeed, the ‘widow’s mite’ was equally as valid a faith response, as she gave what she had and did so with humility. To demand or expect a certain percentage, at all times, is legalistic but at the same time, as a Council we have recognised the need to be much more ‘intentional’ about giving back to God what has been given to us on your behalf.
After much prayer, discussion and reflection it has been decided that 10% of offerings and donations will be offered back to the work of mission and ministry, in whatever forms that takes. We have never been a wealthy church, but by following a fundamental Biblical principle we can stand tall knowing that we are honouring the many examples given to us in the scriptures, and placing God at the ‘helm’ of our worship in its every part.
It doesn’t make sense from a worldly view to commit 10% back when we are financially just keeping our head above water, but worldly views are not what we are about. We serve the living God, and seek to follow the examples given to us as we discern how to live lives worthy of the call and to reflect that as a family of faith. It doesn’t make great sense logically but it makes every sense spiritually.
We are called to be counter cultural where culture does not place God at the centre. We are called to be followers of Jesus in a culture that serves self and self-gratification. We do that in many ways already but this decision to tithe back (or reinvest in God’s kingdom here on earth) what is being entrusted to us, is honouring God first – despite it not making sense in our wider culture.
We have already been committing some of our giving to mission and ministry, and that will still form part of the more ‘intentional’ level of giving. However, instead of being largely ‘reactive’ and often removed from the area of our giving, we will seek to be more disciplined and considered about who, where and when our giving is made, with the hope that we might also invest time, talents and form relationships as part of this.
If you have any queries or concerns please speak to one of the council members, who work tirelessly as disciples and volunteers on your behalf, or myself if there is specific need. Please also join your prayers with ours as we journey ahead together.
May you know our Lord’s calling and vision for yourself as we seek to serve Him together in every area of our lives and with every fibre of our being.
Bless you, and may you also know the peace of the risen Christ this day and always. Rev Linda
Richard Baldwin (Rectors Warden)
Sue Baldwin (Mission and Outreach)
Jill Booth (Peoples’ Warden)
Tom Phillip Christy
Eddy Crouch (LPMs and LAs & Synod Rep)
Linda Flewker-Barker (Rector)
Edna Lewis (Secretary & Synod Rep)
Jocelyn Lukens (M.U. President)
Jean Simpson (Treasurer)