Well we got the year underway with a bang because if God's wish for us is to love one another, enjoy fellowship and grow together, then the Spirit was present 'big time' as St George's put on a truly magnificent Cinderella pantomime to chase away January’s blues. Playing to 4 full houses there could be little doubt that those on the stage proved that christians have fun - young and old. Special thanks to Liz as director to guide the cast through many weeks of rehearsal, to Karen for showing just how good she is at set design and stage management and to Beryl for creating costumes on a shoestring that would have done CFT proud. And to cap it all a goodly sum was raised for church funds. Funds subsequently further topped up by a successful jumble sale.
If the early months were the best of times, Covid-19 gave us the worst of times. The fear and concern. The illness and loneliness. The loss of jobs and freedoms. The break from our worship as a community of christians. But we have risen to the challenge.
The best has been our coming together, even in relative isolation.
The willingness of people to help a neighbour or the many who volunteered to help a fellow Donnington-ite who they have never met before.
Over 4 tonnes of food and household necessities plus £800 was donated at the regular Saturday Pop-Up Foodbank depot at Donnington Hall and which was whisked away each Monday morning to feed complete strangers in need. It proved a real place for the community to see a friendly socially-distanced face and exchange news.
Reaching out with a series of 5 newsletters to the whole community to reassure them that no-one will be forgotten, all will be helped who need it. A new facebook page to link our community together.
The best has been the ingenuity of our worship. Finding ways to run on-line services during Easter week. Developing a regular virtual Zoom service each week with readings, hymns, prayers, refections and breaking new ground in how an engaging church service can help us think about our faith. Introducing for a while a Wednesday evening simple eucharist - with masks unfortunately. Opening the church for private prayer each Sunday for a time. Continuing the Wednesday/Friday morning prayers via Zoom. All has extended our reach and christian fellowship.
And, despite all the troubles, we managed during the year to finally complete the toilet extension, instal the Huyton window, secure faculty and then deliver a hugely sympathetic new lighting scheme in our dark church and make improvements to the 'old' part of the Hall including doors that will open to everyone (those in wheelchairs and those pushing buggies)
Our delayed annual meeting (the APCM) took place on 18th October 2020. The minutes can be inspected below. There was little change in the composition of the PCC; our electoral roll had increased to 78 from 73 at the time of the meeting; over 85 people subscribed to our 'occasionally weekly' newsletters; thanks were given to the many people who had not only 'kept the show on the road' during lockdown but had positively expanded the mission of Sr George's in the community.
Through sponsorship we raised over £1000 for the British Legion's Poppy Appeal to make up for the absence of Poppy Sellers many of whom were having to isolate or were vulnerable.
Over Advent was amazing, despite lockdown. We began on Advent Sunday still in Lockdown and zoomed. But we heard good news from Bishop Ruth who joined and raised our spirits in the innovative services we have developed during the year. Thank you Ruth.
Our Christingle service and subsequent Tree of Hope were marvellous additions to the Donnington Spirit at a time when the community looked back on a difficult year and needed to lift its eyes to a better tomorrow; and over £300 was raised for the Children's Society into the bargain. Our carol service and midnight mass services were oversubscribed but again available via Zoom as we again married the new with the old; the intimate with social distance; the reassurance of old ways with the courage to face the future with Christ's star as a guide.