Dear St Thomas’ Church Family

What a year we’ve had! Praise God that we have been able to meet together and also sing for these past few weeks.

It’s been a while since the Wardens have sent out a communication and we’re eager to come to you again via this week’s bulletin.

First, thank you for your support and encouragement in this recent period of transition since the arrival of the Mantle family, the endurance through lockdown and for your support during the purchase of the Rectory – what a year!

It has been so encouraging to see the overwhelming support for the Mantles across all our congregations. We are grateful to God for the Mantles and for the way they have been received. There have been some great highlights in this period: the Missions breakfast with the Websters, the re-opening of Sunday services, a large gathering at the November Prayer Meeting, a revitalised 8am service, a strong restart to Lights and so on. Praise God.

Secondly, we are grateful for Mickey’s leadership at this early stage and are excited for the vision, plans and direction he is developing as he continues to get to know our church, our people, our area and the ministry opportunities that are abundantly surrounding us.

We are encouraged by his strategic thinking and his ability to identify and begin to address the significant needs in our staffing and structures. He has worked extremely hard to get on top of things, especially in having to take on the role during the significant challenge of COVID restrictions. Please continue to pray for him and the family as he continues to serve us and lead us.

Thirdly, as John Woodhouse prepared us, with new leadership comes opportunity and change. Whilst the Wardens and Mickey would like to have had a more gradual and measured pace of change, we have had to bring forward some changes, such as the personnel for kids, music and communications, as our much-loved Ali McIntosh and James West have both sadly decided to move on (we are and will miss them dearly). We’ve been working hard to find great people to step into these roles and subsequently large shoes.

We do wish to reiterate that we have been closely and proactively involved in all the various planning and changes and are in full support of all the decisions Mickey has had to make for our future as a church family. We have also been thankful that Mickey has been able to consult with John Woodhouse in some of the more difficult matters who has been providing great counsel. Like us, John is fully supportive of the difficult steps that Mickey has taken.

As was mentioned in last week’s bulletin, there are changes in ministry staff and the allocation of our ministry team to the various ministry roles and congregations in our church family.

One particular matter that requires some clarification is around the change to the leadership of the 5pm congregation with Mike Clark stepping aside and Luke Shooter assuming that responsibility. It is necessary to say that the timing of this did not take place as the ministry team had planned due to the announcement of the news via an email to the 5pm leaders and congregation made prematurely. Because that information came out sooner than intended, it was necessary to make an announcement in the bulletin last week and on Sunday at church prematurely. That is to say that the intention was for a single announcement made on the 12th of December by which time all details would be able to be provided.

Understandably this has resulted in a number of people feeling uncertain about the future leadership of the 10am congregation in Luke’s absence and Mike’s future ministry. But we want to assure you that greater clarity about these matters will shared with you soon. We ask  for your patience and prayerfulness in this brief period until plans can be announced.

We note that the Clark’s have moved out of the Parkview unit and back into their house in Epping. This occurred faster than expected at their request. This also coincides with the O’Briens also moving out of Parkview as they move into their own home in Lane Cove – congrats to Gerard and Briar!

We are excited for Luke Shooter and his wife Ling, to commence a new chapter of their ministry at 5pm, who have done an incredible job of caring pastorally and organising ministries at 10am. Luke and Ling have also taken the opportunity to change their residence and will be moving into one of the Parkview apartments in January.

We are equally looking forward to providing further communications around 10am ministry staff, which we will be able to do shortly as we are finalising details and arrangements and also plans for the leadership of the kids ministry. It is exciting times!

Gerard will continue to lead Lights Youth which is bursting at the seams and is providing more ministry opportunities than he knows what to do with. We are working with him to look at resourcing – so please pray for Gerard and the team as we look to set him and his leadership team up for the future.

Should you have any concerns or questions about any of these changes please do not hesitate to contact any of us. We would be glad to speak with you.

Finally, we want to reiterate what has been said by the staff about the great opportunity that is presented to us as a church this Christmas. We are excited that we are able to host the Community Party again on the 19th December at 4pm followed by Carols at 6pm. With Paul Dudley giving a children’s talk and Dave Jensen giving a talk to adults we anticipate that this will be an outstanding outreach opportunity. Let us all be praying and inviting so that others will be able to share the hope we have.

If you have any questions or would like to have a conversation, please don’t hesitate to contact the Wardens on the details below.

Yours in Christ,
Paul Drew ([email protected])
Andrew Eatough ([email protected])
John MacLeod ([email protected])