Thursday, 25 April 2013

Look Back – Look Forward

Every Anglican Parish is obliged to hold an Annual Parochial Church Meeting. For the Parish of Oadby, of which St Pauls is a part, this takes place tonight.

But this is much more than an obligation. It’s a time to look back – reports of the work last year have already been circulated – and an opportunity to thank God for the work we achieved and also an opportunity to thank the many members who have been involved.

Despite a widespread belief to the contrary, an individual parish like ours is not funded by any central source such as the Church Commissioners. So we depend on the gifts given by individual members of the church towards the work of God here. This year, we have fully met all our financial obligations, so we again give thanks to God and our members.

This is also the time when we choose the officers in the church – Churchwardens, Members of the Parochial (Parish) and District (St Peter’s & St Paul’s) Church Councils, Secretary, Treasurer etc. Their commitment will be invaluable in the next year and we also give thanks to those who willingly gave their time in fulfilling these roles in the past year.

This meeting may be an obligation, but it’s also an opportunity to look back, to look forward and to give thanks.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Source – Be, Say, Do

The week after Easter found a group of 12 people from St Paul’s travelling to Skegness (sunny but certainly not warm) on the bracing Lincolnshire coast. Here, they joined 5000 other Christians from many different denominations at the annual “Spring Harvest” held at the Butlins holiday camp.

For five days we studied together how Jesus is the source of our faith and how as individuals we should “be,” “say,” and “do,” the good news that he brings. With morning Bible Readings, Seminars, Study Groups and late-night entertainment, there was plenty to do both to fill the day and to build up one’s faith. That late-night entertainment included theatre groups, comedians and musicians,  You could also investigate the beach or try out the many Butlins entertainments.

But one of the highlights was the evening worship in the “Big Top” when one joined with 3000 others in worshipping God using some of the newest Christian songs, as well as a few old favourites. Through it all, we sensed God’s presence in a very real and special way. The question on our lips as we returned was “can we manage next year’s dates to go again?”