Dear brothers and sisters,
One of the most positive aspects of my time at St Thomas’ so far has been the warm welcome and godly support of the staff team. They have been a model of willingness, patience and faithfulness to the ministry of the gospel. It has been a joy getting to know them and beginning to serve as their team leader.
With the arrival of any new Rector there will be inevitable changes to the shape of a staff team as he leads the ministry into the future. I wanted, therefore, to let you know about some of these developments.
As many of you already know James West has been offered an outstanding role with Sydney Catholic Schools as a music teacher which he has decided to take. We have not wanted him to go! But James has been considering for some time whether his gifts are best deployed in music ministry in a church setting or as a professional music teacher serving in church in a volunteer capacity. After much prayer and thought he has decided on the latter and this role is an ideal opportunity for him. James has been an extraordinary blessing to us in his music but also getting us online during COVID. It is not an exaggeration to say that without him we would not have been able to run as we have. James will be with us until Christmas. Please pray that the Lord provides us with the right person to lead our music ministry next year.
Many of you will have been blessed by Annabel Robertson’s outstanding ministry in pastoral care among women. Annabel joined the staff this year on a temporary contract to provide extra resources in this important area. Her contract has come to an end and by mutual agreement we have decided not to continue her role on the staff. I am, however, thrilled that she and David will remain at St Thomas’ and that Annabel will be continuing her wonderful pastoral work in a volunteer capacity. It is my firm intention that in time we employ a female minister whose role will involve Bible teaching and training of other women. Indeed I hope that we will have multiple such women on the staff in the future.
After a great 3 years leading the 5pm I have asked Mike Clark to step aside from that role and to enable Luke Shooter to assume that responsibility. My great desire is that St Thomas’ is a training church. This new responsibility will be an excellent opportunity for Luke to develop as a gospel minister by being given the chance to be the overall leader of a congregation for the first time. It will include working closely with a number of our Discipleship Group leaders to develop the Central Discipleship Groups ministry that he has initiated at St Thomas’. This training position will leave Luke well placed in future to take on Senior Minister responsibilities beyond St Thomas’ in the future.
As a senior pastor with extensive experience both in a parish and theological setting Mike Clark is well placed for a new phase of gospel ministry. I am very grateful for Mike’s ministry at the 5pm especially over these challenging recent years and I am working closely with him as he considers how his considerable gifts might be best deployed in the future.
Excitingly we are also very close to being able to share good news about staff resourcing for our Children’s ministry. Please continue to pray for the final stages of this important decision to come together well.
Finally, I am grateful that the Wardens and Treasurer have given approval for the appointment of a 3 day per week SRE Coordinator. This is a vital role for us to be able to properly capitalise on the quite spectacular opportunities we have in our location to reach non-Christian children and teenagers with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This role will also involve supporting the outstanding work of JAFFA (Jesus a friend for all), our Friday afternoon after school ministry to children in years 3 to 6. 80% of the young people who come to JAFFA are from non-Church homes. Some of you have heard me share my view that JAFFA is our most important ministry that is most under resourced. I am just so grateful to Millie Lloyd and Holly Carter (who herself came to know Christ through JAFFA) for the way they have led this wonderful work over the past year with minimal support. Please pray that God would supply just the right person to take on this important role to support that team. Please look out for anyone you know who might be well suited to it and put them in touch with me, Gerard or Amanda in the office. Please do give financially to our SRE fund (which is tax deductible!) to support this work.
I so look forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Your brother in Christ,