What a busy fortnight we have all had with Carol Services, Baptisms, Messy Crib, Midnight Communion, and Christmas Morning – all bookended by our regular Sunday worship. The Sunday after Easter is often referred to as Low Sunday; I think the Sunday after Christmas could be called Exhausted Sunday!
So, as we end this busy week, let us indulge in a look back at an equally eventful year at St Edwards.
New Team Members
In September we had two new team members join us at St Edwards; both the culmination of a long period of discernment and selection.
Rev Carl Budden was ordained as Curate in the summer and now continues his training with us for the next 4 years. Carl is a self-supporting minister, which means he works during the week in secular employment and his ordained ministry operates alongside this. Training to be clergy whilst also working full-time is not to be taken lightly but I am sure Carl is up for the challenge and we look forward to journeying with him in the coming years.
As we had been a year without any Children and Families worker, it was very exciting to welcome Libby Marsh as our trainee SWYM (South West Youth Ministries) worker. Libby had spent some years working in childcare, and therefore comes to us with some useful experience. As a trainee she will spend the first year on a Certificate course and then continue to Degree level in the coming years.
Youth and Children’s Work
Our Messy Church meetings have continued this year at Christchurch Estover, and since September the team have now also started doing the same at St Edwards.
Libby has also been busy with our children and youth groups, not least by re-branding each with anew name: Sparks and 60 Watts respectively. Sparks meet, as always, each Sunday morning during the service thanks to a committed team of leaders. 60 Watts meet each Sunday evening before the service.
There have been a lot of social and fundraising events this year – rather too many to list them all hear, so a few highliights only.
- The Community Lunches started in February and continued to offer food and friendship top 40 diners each month.
- Quiz Nights in February and December
- Walk For Water in March, for Turn on the Tap appeal
- Living Churchyard and Greenfingers Club
- Spring Fair and Autumn Fair
- Schools and pre-school work: Open the Book, FROGS, and Eddybears
- Community Christmas Event and Light Switch-on
- St Matthews CE Primary and Nursery Academy opened in September
- Eggbuckland Community choir
We set out a clear plan for supporting mission in 2015, and throughout the year we have been partnering with a number of organisations overseas and abroad both financially and in prayer:
- Embrace the Middle East
- Samaritans Purse Shoe Box Appeal
- Compassion – Sponsor a Child
- Hamlin Fistula UK
- Nepal earthquake appeal
- Mission to Seafarers
- North Plymouth Food Bank & REACH project
- Oriel Ministries (LED)
A 500 year-old building is not a static pile that must never be allowed to change with the needs of the day, and in the last year we have seen a number of projects to update and improve this building that we are the current stewards of.
The biggest focus of the year has been with the plans for toilet facilities to be added – not something that was considered necessary in 1430! There have been various fundraising activities and a lot of research around acquiring grants, and it is hoped the project will come to full fruition in 2016.
On a slightly small scale we have also seen a few other new developments.
In the spring we moved to install new Audio-Visual equipment with the addition of two large screens at the front. At the same time the opportunity was taken to tidy up and replace some of the excessive and dangerous wiring.
The external floodlighting was also updated during the year to replace the existing halogen lights with modern low-wattage and energy efficient units.
One very popular improvement was the addition of new pew cushions thanks to a generous benefactor – it is now much more comfortable to sit though a long sermon.
All The Usual Stuff
Alongside all this we have also continued with the usual weekly round of services: Communion, All-Age, HeartBeat, Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals. Our Growth groups meet weekly through the year, and also our regular planning and team meetings. The church quiz team also attend the Prince Maurice each month for their charity quiz.
And Now 2016….
I am sure that the new year will be no less busy as we seek to live out our faith in the community which we find ourselves.
Wishing you all a blessed New Year…