APCM Reports

These are two or the reports from the Annual Parochial Church Meeting.

From the Churchwardens—the review of 2008

The Churchwarden’s year brings contact with all sorts of people beyond our own church; Bishops, Archdeacons, Partnership clergy and wardens from neighbouring churches. What has been so remarkable about 2008 is that no matter how distant those ‘other church’ contacts are, people seem to know about St Matthew’s. There’s a widely circulated rumour that there’s ‘something happening’ at our church. As we reflect on the year past we can see that those rumours are well founded.

We are a growing church family, and that growth has been fully in the vision of the Diocesan Strategy—growth not just in numbers but also in ‘partnership’, ‘commitment’ and in our ‘influence’.

In 2008 we persisted with the search for the right person to work with our young people, and found Ali—who is already bringing a creative and dynamic new impetus to our youth work.

In this year we also undertook some completely new projects—most notably Hope 08, in close collaboration with BCF. This was a great success and helped develop and inform this new church relationship. Its success was the result of many people’s hard work, but special thanks are owed to Vicky whose energy and personal commitment were simply exceptional. Vicky’s good work was further affirmed during the year by confirmation of additional funding, allowing her to plan for the future with the comfort of job security.

We also saw important changes in the Highbury Partnership with Paul Roberts and Jennifer Cooper moving on to new challenges and the certain prospect of an uncertain interregnum. This created an opportunity to repay the love and support shown to us when we were without a vicar, and that friendship is greatly appreciated by the leadership in both churches.

Growth in 2008 led to a need to review our vision and the leadership structure that sought to deliver it. The standing committee became a slightly broader leadership team, allowing the PCC to focus on wider policy and vision matters. Three area teams were created to build on our vision—looking specifically at building community, deepening our relationship with, God and engaging with those around us. These groups have already stimulated a lot of good work, such as the new church web‑site now making us more accessible, and with plenty more plans for the year ahead.

Worship is always a ‘hot potato’ in churches, since it can be difficult to lead a group of people into an authentic expression of their love and praise that reflects both individual tastes and corporate beliefs. We are fortunate in having a team of musicians that are both gifted and faithful, and above all recognise that music is a means to an end—the glory of God. It has been good to see the team of people involved expand over the past year. In particular thanks go to Stephen Browne and Richard Wheeler, and to Martin and Sue Stanisstreet who have recently given up leadership of the band but continue to play an important role in our music. We continue to try new ways of worshipping as well as celebrating the musical traditions that still feed our devotional lives. We’ve also seen exciting developments in prayer, with answers to prayer, wider discussions about prayer, and changes in the way we pray together. Prayer meetings are now a regular event, and it is now more widely expressed as part of our worship together.

The past year has seen the passing of some beloved members of our church family, and they will be greatly missed by us all. We are also mindful of those for whom 2008 has been a difficult year, including some whose health has been a concern, and those affected by the recession.

Finally, as we heave a sigh of relief that we somehow got away with it for another year, we can express our very deepest gratitude to those who made it took easy. There are lots of people involved, but three in particular need a mention. Mat, who didn’t give us one reason to need words with the Bishop; Andrew who performed untold miracles with money; and Steve who is, we are certain, an angel.

Simon Pugh Jones
Tracey Wheeler

From the Vicar—the review of 2008

There is an oft quoted church leader’s maxim that most people overestimate what can be done in a year and underestimate what can be achieved in five. As I took back over the past year and reflect on the past two in this post I am hugely excited and encouraged by all that God has done.

I often find myself saying how blessed I am to be the leader of a church that is seeking to grow and change and more importantly engage in mission. I firmly believe that God is calling St Matthew’s to continue to grow in depth and numbers. By God’s grace we could be a life giving and transforming community, serving the community that lives in our geographical area, loving those whom we meet day by day and resourcing and encouraging the wider church at large. We are not there yet by any means but it does feet to me as if the foundational building blocks are now in place for us to move to the next stage. We have what I consider to be a very gifted and complete staff team. We have a new and appropriate leadership structure that is capable of enabling growth. We have completed a Youth and Children’s review which has re‑ignited our vision and gifting for ministry amongst children, young people and families. I believe that this is where we will see the next main wave of growth. Crucially we have more and more people involved in exercising their own ministry in the church. And I hope that this will continue to grow.

I hope that as you read through this review you will be encouraged and enthused about all that God is doing. There are too many things to mention in this section here, but I do encourage you to read, to give 6od thanks and to pray for continued growth. And as you do that have an ear to God’s call on your own life and ministry. What is God, or has God, called you to?

In the past year we have suffered the sad death of three special members of the community in John Williams, Monica Lang and Eileen Eades. They are sadly missed by church and family. We are a transient community in more than one way. Toby and Francesca Jones and their family and Abi Sowden have all moved onto pastures new. We have also been blessed by the arrival of many new people who have been welcomed into the community of St Matthew’s and we are grateful to God for them.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff, all those on PCC and in leadership generally who make this job such a pleasure. I’d particularly like to give thanks for Andrew Wood and Tracey Wheeler who step down this year as Treasurer and Warden. Both have contributed an enormous amount of wisdom and skill over the years.

As we seek to follow God’s exciting call to grow in Christ in the coming year we will continue to face the challenges of change. Whilst our foundation stones are in place we need now to be focussing more and more on mission and evangelism. As we grow in confidence in God at work amongst us through his Holy Spirit each of us will need to take some risks for God in our conversations and prayers, in the expectant hope that God wit[ add new Christians to our number. I’m reminded constantly of the early church community of Acts. They were so filled with God’s Spirit and love for one another that it spilled out in prayer and service to those who they met. I pray that that will be true of us too in the coming year.

Thank you to all those who make St Matthew’s what it is, especially to those involved in the ‘backroom’ type work of coffee, welcome, maintenance, visiting and other things. Our biggest thanks and praise must surely go to God who is capable of doing more than we can hope or imagine through His Holy Spirit at work in us.

I look forward to 2009

Yours in Christ

Mat

[Copies of the full review including ministry reports and the audited accounts are available from the church office.]

Share this on Facebook

Hospitality Sunday

As part of St Matthew’s mission to grow in community together, we are organising a “Hospitality Sunday” lunch after the morning service.

The idea is that some of us volunteer to cook lunch in our own homes whilst others are guests, so that we all have lunch together in groups of, say, 4 to 10 people. There is a notice in the church porch for you to sign up to participate. You can sign up as individuals/couples/families and you can volunteer to host a lunch (stating maximum number of extra people you can cater for) or to be a guest (or either!). The matching of hosts to guests will be done centrally and everyone notified in advance – it may be that not all potential hosts are needed in which case they will end up as guests. Deadline for signing up will be Sunday 31st May and hosts will be contacted with numbers and names on Tuesday 2nd June. Each host will then contact their guests and make arrangements for lunch on the 7th.

Share this on Facebook

Christian Aid Week

Keeping Hope Alive

This year’s Christian Aid Week focuses on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Do you have a few spare hours in Christian Aid week?
Help us this year by taking and collecting a bundle of envelopes (in the foyer).

Share this on Facebook

Newcomers’ Tea

in the Church Hall. If you’ve joined since October 2008 this is for you to meet some more people and find out more about St Matthew’s and our values. Please could you let the office know if you are coming.

Share this on Facebook