Normally this is Harvest but in this strange world of 2020, it is the preparation for the Annual Meetings. These should have happened by the end of May, but they have been delayed.

We will be holding our Annual Parish Meeting – for the election of Church Wardens – and then immediately after, our Annual Parochial Church Meeting on Sunday, Oct 25th at 11.45 am in the Parish Church.

If you are not able to attend because you are shielding, please let us know and we will try and find a way to include you remotely. The papers and reports for the meetings will be available on our website and so are the nomination forms for those wishing to stand for Deanery Synod or PCC or Church Warden. We are looking at ways for others to join the meeting and even take part.

First a huge Thank You to those who have been in office this past 18 months or more, as the last months have been particularly demanding – thank you for all that has been done, often in difficult circumstances and when communicating is harder.

Second please pray for our church council and officers, and for the meetings whether or not you can attend; the coming months are not going to get any easier and the Council has a legal as well as spiritual responsibility to enable the church to flourish.

Third, an annual meeting is a good chance to take stock of our contribution to church life. In some cases, God is asking us to step down so others can take on a role – even if we think they may not (yet) be as good as us. If Jesus could entrust the Gospel to his disciples we have to trust that God can entrust his work to others! Some of us may be able to offer a role, or offer some time and find out what role is needed – one new role that may well be needed more are folk to help COVID-wipe the pews and areas of the church that need cleaning down before the next use: we did not have that role last year! As with all organisations (apart from Amazon and a chosen few), our finances have taken a huge hit this year. Maybe you can consider a further gift to the church or a regular donation, and if so – please – could it be by Standing Order so it reduces bureaucracy and helps us budget for the year. And if you can, please Gift-Aid it.

Fourth, please tell us what you would like from your church, what we are doing well, and what we could do differently. The church is for all, and for others, not a club for the few. As William Temple, a previous Bishop of Manchester said: “The Church is the only society on earth that exists for the benefit of non-members.” He was not quite right as there are others who are altruistic, but he was completely right that we are blessed by God so that we may share that blessing and others too may discover it.

And fifth – if I am allowed a fifth point – we need to plan and prepare for Remembrance, for Advent and for Christmas, again not just for ourselves but to share the news of God with us with others, and especially to help our youngsters know God is here with us. God is calling us to live longer in this “exile” / different state, but we have a real chance to discover God in a new and potentially more meaningful way.

Rev’d Peter Reiss: 18th Sept 2020