Dear Friends,

A   In two weeks (Monday March 26 at 8pm) we have our Annual General Meeting. It’s a night to hear brief reports and to vote in some key people for roles in the church.
Every year there is a sense of thanksgiving and joy as we look back over the year of the Lord’s faithfulness. We cover a lot in 90 minutes!

This is an evening that explains many things:

  • what progress is there in ministry?
  • what decisions are affecting our property?
  • what are we doing with our money?
  • what developments are taking place?

For the past year have had:

  • Three wardens – Andrew Eatough, Paul Drew and John MacLeod – and they are standing again.
  • These parish councillors – Sarah Benn, Jenny Chu, Adrian Cunningham, Lauren Drysdale, Shalako Francis and Peter Sheldon – and they are standing again.
  • Our nominators (who choose a new rector when there is a vacancy) Ken Chapman, Chase Kuhn, Jonathan Morris and Wendy Swanton are standing again.
  • Our synod reps (Tim Harricks and Nicole Warwick Mayo) and they are standing again.
  • Our safe ministry representative is Catherine Twyman and she is standing again.

A few are stepping down after serving us very faithfully:

  • Paul Rudolph from Parish Council (representing 8am) and David Glen (from 8am) has agreed to stand
  • Stewart James from the Nominators and Tim Daly has agreed to stand
  • Andrew Eastwood has been an honorary warden and parish councillor – and this is a wardens’ appointmen

So we have no pressing need but you are invited to stand for any position (warden, parish councillor or nominator) if you wish and there are nomination forms at the back of the church. You only need to get someone who has been a ‘communicant member’ for more than three months to nominate you if you wish to stand.

B   Like discovering treasure I recently found a box of two hundred cassettes (!) that I’d not listened to for 20–30 years. These are talks from the 70’s and 80’s by John Chapman, John Stott, Dick Lucas and a host of fine preachers. I’m listening to them as I drive (with a device that connects a cassette player to the lighter!) and it’s been a feast. I’m hoping to put some onto our website – they have a spiritual temperature that will do you good.     
One of the talks on Rev 3:1-6 is to the church in Sardis that receives this word: “you have a reputation of being alive but you are dead”.

Is it possible for a church to be outwardly impressive, busy and with a calendar of events – yet be dead? It obviously is, since so much of what we do can be organised and maintained artificially. I wonder if the Lord was to tear off the ‘leaves’ of St Thomas’ and go looking for the ‘fruit’ of people who believe, pray, repent, sacrifice and follow – how much would He find?

C   Two weeks ago we welcomed Michael and Caroline Clark to our Sunday services – and rejoiced that they can come to work with us.

I have asked Mike to concentrate on four things:

  • normal pastoral duties (leading, preaching, people)
  • stretching discipleship group leaders and groups
  • exploring the mission field of our business district
  • helping put a pastoral visiting team together

Please pray that his coming will be an instrument for growth and change in all of us –  we’re not asking him to make us happy but holy. And out of holiness – comes much happiness.

Yours in fellowship,

Simon Manchester

P.S. We are in the day of checking pulse and blood pressure (fitbits, etc). Can I ask you to check your monthly links with your local church? If you are slipping into monthly fellowship be wary – if fortnightly be wiser and if weekly be well. Sadly many think they are regular now if getting monthly fellowship and they are not as healthy as they think they are.