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We have accepted the estimate of £47,949.00 plus Vat for the installation of a toilet in the Church Belfry along with improvements to the remaining area to make it into a small meeting room with a small kitchen area. We have already paid the architect £3,500 + VAT. We hope to start the work straight away and have it completed by early July.
Fund raising will be commenced straight away
We welcome Marilyn Peters as rector at the moment as both Revd. Denise and Revd Garry have retired due to ill health. She will be helped by Stewart and Jackie Tyler and Nicky Busby as well as Church Wardens and PCCs.
Advertising for a new rector is taking place during June 2016, applications should be made to Lichfield Diocese on 01543 306030
Tragedies in different parts of the world; refugees enduring unimaginable hardships; power struggles and the unending threat of war and terrorism; leadership elections and constant requests to support aid agencies.
There is so much going on in our lives at present that it is hard to follow God’s command to ‘be still and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10).
In fact, even if you ignore my opening sentence, the hustle and bustle of daily life, demands of work or caring for others and the opportunities to ‘be still and listen’ just disappear: to the extent that we find ourselves remarking ‘well I do try to make time, but it’s difficult’.
But as I sit at the computer composing this piece for the website, the sun is shining; clouds scud across the sky; the trees move gently in the breeze and I can’t help but smile! It’s a glorious day and God’s blessing, peace and presence are tangible, available to all – to you and me!
Some might ask the question, what does he look and sound like? For me He speaks through creation just as He speaks through His word. To quote Norma Murrain, “the sky says ‘always look up’ and the sun says ‘shine’; the trees say ‘be fruitful’.” Isn’t it wonderful that just by taking time to stop, look and listen we can learn so much about God through His creation.
Last month, Nicky alluded to the challenges that face all of us over the coming months. During September your Joint Council and Church wardens have been meeting to discuss and make plans for moving forward as a group of parishes working together and supporting one another.
As individuals, we too can examine our lives, as well as our worship habits, and think about the challenges that face each one of us, praying that God will show us the way forward.
Unfortunately, the problem that faces all of us arises from the fact that we don’t listen to the messages that God has for us. Micha Jazz writes that he likes to have a back-up plan just in case God doesn’t answer or he’s not too keen on God’s answer! Sadly, living with a consumerism mind set has created, within many of us, an expectation that our spiritual journeys are a ‘pic and mix’ so that we never need to step out of our comfort zones.
We have an opportunity to grow if we listen, because Jesus invites us to look beyond our prejudices, to step out from behind our self-made walls and to engage with our neighbours, whether in the Mease Valley or further afield.
Worship and prayer are the places where we can start our journey with God because when we worship, we acknowledge the reality of God’s truth. When we reaffirm our faith, we also acknowledge God’s authority and the fact that God’s way is not based on consumerism. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Through prayer, we are able to develop a personal relationship with God: enabling us to step out of our comfort zones, in faith.
Everything should be, is, about God expressing the nature of his kingdom. We are fortunate to have a role to play, to use our God given talents for God’s work. However, like actors in a play, we are not in charge and the script is God’s word.
So, ‘Be still’. Take time to develop your relationship with God and be amazed at what can be achieved, separately and together.
TheMease Valley Benefice
You will no doubt be aware that the 4 parishes of the Mease Valley have formally come together to form theMease Valley Benefice, being inaugurated at a licencing service conducted by our Diocesan Archdeacon in May.
I hope that this short piece will be helpful in understanding why this has occurred and what it means in practice for our church community.
Firstly, what is a ‘benefice’? For us, it is a group of parishes who have been formally joined together under a Rector, who has charge of them all.
Secondly, why the change to a ‘benefice’? Well, it has nothing to do with the recently announced retirements of our Rector and our Assistant priest. Under their direction the process of coming together has been happening for some years. This is a logical next step.
For centuries almost every community in England has had a parish church, often paid for by the local land owner. Today, each church has to be financially self-sufficient, funded and maintained by its village community. This is increasingly difficult as the number of regularly attendees and contributors has declined.
From the time of Jesus people have come together to worship, to teach and learn and to serve their community. Initially they would have met in homes as church buildings did not exist. It is this coming together that the benefice replicates.
Whilst the church building remains an important element within our village infrastructure, often the only public building remaining, the number of people who gather together in each village is relatively small. The coming together formally as a benefice strengthens the spiritual fellowship by virtue of the greater numbers who can gather for worship and mutual support, and better provides for the pastoral needs of the community.
This does require an acceptance that it may be necessary,on a given day, to travel a short distance to another village for worship, something that is necessary now for virtually everything else we do. It does however provide the best way of ensuring that our villages can retain the church building which has been their focal point for centuries.
If you haven’t been into your village church for a while, please do so, they are open during daylight hours during the week. Visit one of the other Mease valley churches too. They are all very different and hold the spirit and the history of their village. You also might like to make a regular contribution which will be gratefully received and go towards ensuring that this may continue.
Coming together as a benefice is more than just a better way of organising ourselves; it is the essence of Jesus’s charge that we should love our neighbours as ourself. When we do this we know that good things happen.
The Harvest Supper on Friday evening 9th October was attended by 36 guests and the proceeds of £449 will go into the Church Funds to help pay for the proposed improvements to the tower room
The PCC are in the process of refurbishing the belfry.
It is proposed that we include a toilet, a small kitchen area and an area to be used as a small meeting room.
Plans have been agreed and estimates are likely to exceed £40,000
Floodlights on the Church from dusk until 11.00pm can be turned on in memory of someone or to mark a special occasion.
For a donation of £5.00
Please contact the churchwardens
The provision of a toilet and a small kitchen area has been completed in October £2016.
The total cost was more than £50,000 plus VAT so we are planning many fund raising events this year and next including a raffle. tickets available from the church wardens or Harlaston shop.
We are expecting the Bishop of Lichfield to give the first flush at a fund raising event in February and we hope to combine this with starting a fund to provide toilet facilities in a third world country.