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The Rector’s Report to the Annual Parochial Church Meetings 2020

The Rector’s Report to the Annual Parochial Church Meetings 2020

If you are reading this report to the APCM then. most likely, you are someone who is already active in the life of your church. You care about how that life is lived out through the work and witness of all its members.

So, the first thing I want to do is to say, ‘thank you’! My thanks to you for all the ways you are engaged in the life of the church and for the care you have for that life. Of course, that ‘thanks’ is for all those who give so generously of their time and talent to enable us to give God glory in worship, evangelism and mission.

These days of Covid pandemic have made us really appreciate the things that matter. I have been  heartened and humbled by the spirit-filled ways Harbour Churches have lived faith in lock down.  We have spoken of having a ‘living faith’ in lockdown and for many of us it has been inspiring to witness how faith has come alive in new, fresh and surprising ways. Some have also questioned what really matters in faith…

Now I’d like to share with you a vision for the continued renewal of Harbour Churches, building on what already works well, the ‘learnings’ from lock down and our ongoing desire to grow spiritually and numerically in the service of God’s Kingdom.

In recent months the Leadership and Ministry Team have taken time to look afresh at the life of our three churches and discern what God in Christ is calling us to be and do. That has meant asking questions about our shared values – the things that characterise our ‘being the church’. We concentrated on four core characteristics that we feel are foundational to living out ‘the good news’ of Jesus Christ. These are the things we’d want to be able to confidently say about who we are:

  1. Hospitality – reflecting God’s love in Christ, Harbour Churches is joyfully open and welcoming to all, meeting them where they are – as they are, and engaging fully in community life.

 

  1. Nurture – rooted in Jesus’ mission to bring life in all its fulness, Harbour Churches seeks after human flourishing and growth in Christ for all who share in the life of the church or who are served by it.

 

  1. Freedom – empowered by the joyful liberty we have in Christ, Harbour Churches will set people free to build God’s kingdom in their lives and the world around them, active in mission and evangelism.

 

  1. Gratitude – Celebrating God’s blessings by identifying and valuing the time and talents people give to resource the life of the church and resourcing them in turn.

These foundational characteristics can be expressed and shaped through 5 key focusses for ministry:

TELL

Celebrating the Good News

  • Inspiring worship for everyone that is life changing

 

TEACH
Nurturing believers – old and new
A learning church skilfully developing discipleship

 

TEND
Responding to human need
Building life restoring relationships offering healing and wholeness

TRANSFORM
Working for justice, mercy and peace
A courageous church, speaking truth to power for the sake of the poor, oppressed & marginalised

TREASURE
Cherishing God’s creation
Living in environmentally sustainable ways and honouring the sanctity of all life

Each of these focusses will not only shape the character of Harbour Churches but will, as we live them

out, be further developed and shape how Harbour Churches may grow in growing God’s Kingdom. Three focus groups have already been invited to consider the characteristics and 5 Ts. We are continuing to look at how the wider church can engage in our vision. Over the coming months we will be exploring the vision together as church congregations.

I was asked if I could ‘sum up’ in a few words (never easy!) what I wanted, as the Rector, our churches to be about. I thought up lots of ‘strap lines’ but in the end I kept coming back to that simple phrase we used as our theme for worship when we said farewell to Revd. Sarah:

‘Being Good News’

If someone asked you ‘How is your church good news?’ how would you respond? Could you readily identify  in our worship, evangelism and mission the elements of our life together that witness to a church which is good news?… I hope that there may already be much you can say.

Between now and the next APCM in April 2021 (tbc), I will be leading various groups to help Harbour Churches realise this vision to build on what is already good news, to learn from lock down about new says to be good news and to really see the spiritual and numerical growth we long for in the service of God’s Kingdom.

Stepping Up to the Vision

Step One
Members of the Ministry Team, supported by the church family, will audit church life to see what we already do under the 5 Ts, how effective it is and what priorities for ministry we adopt moving forward and how they can be resourced.

Step Two
Over the coming months we will explore as Harbour Churches through prayer, praise and preaching, study groups and virtual church what these four foundational characteristics mean for us and in what ways we can be a church family confident in our ethos, values and actions.

Step Three
If we are to be a church growing spiritually and numerically out of our vision, then we need to ensure that the organisation of church life is fit for that purpose. Recently, the national church has recognised that the way we have organised parish church life in the past needs to change and they are encouraging us to see how new organisational models at a parish level will support growth and ensure that we minimise the administrative burden to maximise our focus on ministry. The Leadership Team have identified three key areas needing organisational restructuring:

  1. Communication… the message matters
  2. Church Representation, Governance and Accountability… the meetings matter
  3. Finance, Funding and Resource… the money matters!

In all seriousness, it is now critical that we renew this fundamental part of church life with the support of the Diocesan Parish Development Team, our PCCs and the wider church family.

Step 3 will be led by all three licensed ministers (Sue, Anthony and the Rector). We will be inviting those who have tried and tested skills in these areas to assess the effectiveness and viability of our present structures,  consider possible new CofE approved models for effective organisation and then, following wider church consultation, prepare the implementation of any agreed restructuring.

Whatever we do, it MUST be done to help us build back even better so that we can grow through being ‘good news’. This is a critical time for the life of your local church, but on the foundations of prayer and a spirit of koinonia, I trust that we can continue the work of Christ to build God’s Kingdom in ourselves, in our church, in our communities… and in God’s glory.

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Harbour Churches Sofa Service and Littles 18th October

Harbour Churches Sofa Service : ‘Nada te turbe’

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things pass away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
One who has God
lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

St Teresa of Avila

We continue to hold in our prayers Clive, Charlie, Anne-Marie, Judy, Derrick, John, Julian, Stella, Rosamond, Angela Derek and Stuart.

Harbour Churches Littles Service: ‘Smile Please’

This week Susan talks about blessings and God’s Smile and how infectious smiling can be to help cheer people up!

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Harbour Churches Newsletter Notice APCM

An Invitation to next weeks

 ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH ‘VIRTUAL’ MEETINGS

 Birdham and Itchenor Thursday 20th October 2020 @ 6pm

Live Link : Birdham with Itchenor APCM Meeting

 

West Wittering Thursday 22nd October 2020 @ 6pm

Live Link : West Wittering APCM

The annual parochial church meeting is always an important event in the life of any church. It also requires a huge amount of work from many people and is rightly a demanding meeting at which we account together for the life of church we share together.

Significantly, it is at this meeting that Church wardens may be elected along with representatives of the parochial council. We, like many other parish churches, continue to struggle to fill all our vacancies. If you would like to consider this role it is not too late. Please do contact me so that we can talk about all that is expected.

This year it will be particularly demanding as we meet via the virtual medium of Zoom. However, I am confident that through our excellent PCC secretaries, together with other church officers, we will still be able to have a meaningful meeting.

As I am sure you can appreciate, this year’s meeting will be more limited than in previous years. Because of the nature of Zoom meetings it will not be possible to have involved discussions on items at the meeting. We ask therefore that you please read all reports prior to the meeting and send any questions or queries to the PCC secretaries at least 48 hrs before the meeting. All reports will be taken as read other than the Finance report and Rector’s report.  Reports can be found at http://www.chichesterharbourchurches.org/ or from the PCC secretaries. Hardcopies of the Trustees report will be placed in the church porch.

Those unable to join via zoom may attend via phone. Contact the Rector for details of this.

Thank you for your understanding and support in this – and trusting to your prayers
Jonathan
RECTOR

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Arrangements for Attending Worship Inside

www.chichesterharbourchurches.org

Present arrangements for attending worship inside church buildings

  • Please book using the contact below between 9am and 4pm Mon – Fri.
  • Do not attend if you are feeling unwell in any way. Cancel your booking.
  • Arrive in good time to be shown to your pre-booked seat.
  • Please avoid socialising inside the building.
  • You must ‘sign in’ to each service. This is for GDPR and confirms you are not unwell.
  • Wear your mask at all times and hand sanitise (gloves are not required).

Additionally, do get the NHS Track and Trace App:

NHS TRACK AND TRACE

If you suspect you may have contracted the virus, follow the Govt. guidance here:

GOVT GUIDANCE IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS

As a church family we want to do all we can to keep safe, protect each other, our communities and the services we all rely on.

Let us continue to prayer for God’s grace and strength at this time:

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us
from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

Booking Contact details:

Itchenor : Jane Oundjian 07802244445 janeoundjian@me.com

Birdham : Roy Dyton 01243 514639 442942@talktalk.net

West Wittering : Stella Pendleton 01243 673470 stella.pendleton252@hotmail.co.uk

NB: Guidance can change very quickly. Keep up to date via our newsletter and webpage

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Harbour Churches Sofa Service 11th October

 

Harbour Churches Sofa Service : ‘Gifted and Gifting’

This week we celebrate Harvest Festival on the Sofa Service – something we would never have considered back in March! The service opens with the song from the musical Godspell ‘All good gifts’ performed by the New Broadway Cast.

In another challenging Gospel reading from Matthew 12. 1-14 we hear how in the new order of God’s kingdom those who might have expected to be invited to a great celebration find that they can’t accept the invitation and that God will welcome all sorts – both the good and the bad alike!

Through the amazing story of a 91 year old lady who has knitted a whole hospital complex to raise money for her local hospital, we reflect on what shapes our lives and on fours A’s:

A ccept we are all vulnerable people living in a vulnerable world
A dapt We have to be open to change and live our life differently.
A nticipate do not lose hope there will be a better tomorrow
A ppreciate we need to be grateful for what we do have and not to focus upon what we do not have.

The traditional harvest hymn ‘Come, ye thankful people come’ sung by the Cathedral Choral Society ends our time of harvest celebration.

We continue to pray by name for Clive, Judy, Margaret, Dereck Angela and Stuart, Anne-Marie, Stella, Rosamond, Stella, Susan and baby Rupert and mum Katie and dad Sam.

We give thanks the rich harvest of those whom we have loves but see no longer as we pray in thanksgiving for the lives of John Parfoot, John Ascoli, Martin Gillot and Sheila Fitzmaurice.

The Collect for Harvest

Creator God,
you made the goodness of the land,
the riches of the sea
and the rhythm of the seasons;
as we thank you for the harvest,
may we cherish and respect
this planet and its peoples,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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Harbour Churches Newsletter 9th October

Harvest of Gifts…

My sister-in-law stayed (actually she was stranded) with us throughout the worst – or best – of lockdown. Together with Jane, Maddy and Jacob we formed a happy little commune. We came to appreciate that each of us had something special to offer – a God given gift that brought ‘creative good news’ into the experience of lockdown. My sister-in-law is a very gifted artist and also incredibly practical. She fixed our kitchen chairs and painted them in colours much brighter than Jane or I would ever dare. She also redesigned the rockery (I lifted most of the rocks!) and replanted it so that even in autumn it is alive with colour.

Well, Claire has been staying with us over the last few weeks because Jane’s father is now really quite poorly. It’s a worrying time and we all need something to help us keep on an even keel. Claire has brought her knitting. She knits with the Norwegian technique – I don’t know what that is but the end result is the same – in this case the most beautifully patterned and textured lama wool jumper! Her knitting – gentle and skilled, has been so centering and brought real healing to troubled hearts and minds…

As we look to celebrate Harvest, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the ways big or small that God has gifted us. The things we’re able to do which are full of ‘creative goodness’ and have a way of being good news for others. It’s also a time when we can go out of our way to recognise those gifts in others and make a point of celebrating them and giving thanks to people for the way their giftedness is such good news.

I’d like to share a ‘blog’ I got from our very gifted Eric. He sends them out regularly to the Amblers and sometimes I just find they say something that I feel needs sharing with the whole church family. So here it is – and it’s about knitting!

From Knots to Knitting

How are you managing this second wave of restrictions? Do you feel it has all gone on for too long? Did you read about the 91 year old great great grandmother Margaret Seaman who lives with her 72 year old daughter in Caister on Sea?

She decided during Lockdown to knit a hospital and call it Knittingdale to raise funds for her local hospitals. She knitted 58 figures – doctors, nurses, patients,  an X-ray unit, a fracture clinic, 4 wards including A&E, a helipad, a car park, and gardens. She has so far raised £3,500.

Objects of knitting have been found that date back to 500 AD in Egypt. It is also is mentioned in the Bible – “You knit me together in my mother’s womb”. Psalm 139v13. Its original meaning is to create and shape. What you believe shapes your life. I want to suggest four attitudes that will help us to manage these extended restrictions:

A ccept we are all vulnerable people living in a vulnerable world
A dapt We have to be open to change and live our life differently.
A nticipate do not lose hope there will be a better tomorrow
A ppreciate we need to be grateful for what we do have and not to focus upon what we do not have. “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is Gods will for you”. 1Thessalonians c5v18.

In our language the word for knitting came from the word knot; some knots are a tiresome tangle an unwelcome obstacle but knots can also be used to make things secure or in the case of knitting to bring shape to provide clothing as a series of knots are skilfully woven into a pattern and purpose. What brings you strength and hope during this time?

May your giftedness bring you strength and hope and be a gift to others.
Assuring you of my prayers and trusting to yours

Jonathan

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