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St Anne’s

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St Mary’s

The United Benefice of Moseley,
St Mary and St Anne

Office: 25 St Mary’s Row, Moseley, B13 8HW
Telephone: 0121 449 2243, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

24 June 2017

Dear Friends,

An open letter to the congregations of St Mary’s and St Anne’s from the vicar.

There are a number of exciting developments to share with you and some information to pass on which I hope will be useful. Please do take time to pray about the projects, programmes and people mentioned in this letter. Can I encourage you to pray for the people of the church you don’t regularly worship in!

God is good! There are many new things that are happening within our benefice for which we should give thanks. The ministry and pastoral teams continue to engage with a wide range of people. Some of the contacts are ‘regulars’ but there are also many opportunities to engage with new people – particularly through christenings, weddings and funerals. Over the past year our clergy have been supporting Balsall Heath Church Centre during their vacancy by leading a range of services and we look forward to welcoming The Revd Paul Leckey to our neighbouring parish on 04 July. Our Deanery Synod came to end of its natural life cycle and new synod will convene in the autumn. Our Area Dean, Canon Catherine Grylls will also be moving on to pastures new so our deanery will have a new Dean soon. Pray for Catherine and her family and thank God for all that Catherine has done for our deanery.

This benefice sustains a huge amount of ministry and activity on a day-to-day basis. We now have seven in the ministry team and four employees which means the systems by which we plan, manage and communicate need to be up to the job. Recently our PCCs agreed to the renewal of our office computers and an upgrade to our rather tired projector. The total cost of this was around £2200. If anyone feels they would like to help cover the cost of this necessary upgrade, please have a word with your Treasurer or Churchwarden. A new photocopier with enhanced features and hopefully an improvement in reliability is also on the horizon. We are also investing in a new ‘Church Management System’ which will provide a range of integrated applications to help improve the flow of information, our planning and communication – including our website and use of social media. I am grateful to Revd Conan and Revd Hazel for their help in taking these projects forward.

Our financial teams continue to do a great job in managing our finances. St Mary’s is engaging in an ongoing Stewardship Campaign which is encouraging everyone to review their giving of time, talents and money against the backdrop of significant reduction in our regular planned income. This year we are facing a deficit of over £20,000. This can only continue for so long before the viability of some key aspects of our activities will be questioned and cuts will have to be made. Our churches exist largely on the generosity of their congregations and I urge you to review your financial giving to see if there is any way you can make even a modest regular increase. If you regularly miss the collection plate because you are out with your child(ren), please pick up a copy of the Parish Giving Scheme pack from the welcome desk – it includes details of how to give by regular automatic payment. I am aware that many already give by this means and that they have nothing to put in the plate as it comes around as a consequence. Small cards are available from the Welcome Desk for folk to add to the plate. By using these we ensure that all gifts are offered up to God on a weekly basis – please do ask for one at the Desk. The PCC continues to monitor closely the financial situation. Please pray that we would see an increase in planned regular income.

St Anne’s has recently had a faculty granted which gives permission for the removal of the pews and the introduction of chairs. This will make St Anne’s worship area a much more flexible space and increase the opportunity for events that engage with the local community. The Summer Ball is only a week away and later on in July, building on last year’s success we have an art exhibition. The Church Hall floor is about to undergo a much needed refurbishment and resealing at a cost of several thousands of pounds.

Flowing from the year of Listening & Reflecting, St Anne’s now has greater clarity about its evolution and at St Mary’s I invited a number of people to work with me and form an envisioning group to help us clarify what God is saying about how we should use our resources – including our buildings. The group curates the ‘Vision 13’ project that has been stimulating prayer and feedback. Do have a look at the prayer station in front of the Magnificat Window, read the comments, pray, reflect and then add your own.

The numbers of children attending the ten o’clock service at St Mary’s weekly is something to be celebrated – Tammy and her team of co-leaders are doing a great job! We recognise that the numbers put a strain on space and in some cases restrict the activities we would like to run. We need a long term solution that gives us more useable space – please join with the ‘Vision 13’ and pray that we might find a way to make this a reality.

As a community we want to show hospitality to everyone. This causes a real problem when folk present a real and often unseen danger to people who want to use the church buildings and grounds. In recent months we have seen a significant increase in rough sleeping and sadly this has gone hand-in-hand with an increase in drug use in our churchyards – particularly at St Mary’s. We have therefore had to introduce a zero tolerance policy across the benefice and give rough sleepers no encouragement to sleep anywhere on the church grounds – including not offering them cups of tea and coffee. Each one that is discovered is reported immediately to the Police. I have had several meetings with local Officers and other agencies to try to remedy the situation but it will take time. The measures we have introduced are on advice we have been given. Please be careful. If you see a discarded syringe please report it immediately to the Warden on duty or a member or clergy so that it can be disposed in the appropriate manner.

Over recent years Revd Hazel and Liz Blakey have facilitated a Growing Leaders course that has seen more than 20 people reflect on their discipleship and response to God. Many have gone on to take on positions of leadership and coordination within our churches – some are now exploring a range of vocations. We currently have nearly 40 people who have been invited to join the next course this autumn. Even if some of them accept the invitation, we would have to run two courses which is exciting! What about you?

Can I ask how you invest in nurturing and developing your Christian faith? I hope that prayer and regular Bible reading form an important part – but what else do you do? In the autumn the Discipleship team are planning to offer a six session discipleship course for those who want to go a bit deeper in understanding what it means to live life as a Christian. I realise that time commitment is a difficult thing – that’s why it’s such a short course! There are other avenues for exploring faith such as Thursday Thinkers, The Book Group and Moseley @ the Movies. If you want more details or would be interested in attending a Discipleship Course in the autumn, please get in touch with the office.

As you can see God is good! There is so much going on and so much to be thankful for. Please do make the things I have raised a matter for prayer and consider your own response as you are able.

Thanks so much for your warm support for all that we are doing.

With prayerful best wishes,

The Reverend Duncan Strathie

Vicar of Moseley