The Rector’s Musings, October 2020, APCM and beyond.
The above quote may be familiar to you, I first saw it at the Sunderland Glass Museum, having just moved to Durham to start my clerical training. Sandra and I were exploring the area and just wondering what we had let ourselves in for and where on earth we would find ourselves in the days, weeks and months to come. It was quite the adventure!
This phrase captured my heart and imagination, I wanted to build the Kingdom of God with his people and together build something that was bigger than the sum of our efforts. Leading a Church and building the Kingdom of God is quite a task, it is also a very great privilege too. What sort of Vicar (Rector)) would I be?
I decided there and then that I would be one who would try to emulate and facilitate this message of Antoine de Saint - Exupery.
Having been in Church life for many years, involved in leadership and watching how other Rectors’ lead their troops, I knew this would be a different model of leadership for people to get to grips with.
I remember well my first PCC meeting at St Catherine’s when I asked “What do you think?” to the PCC. The look on people’s faces was quite illuminating!
That seems a long time ago now but as I look back over my time here, I am thankful that you all rose to the challenges that came our way.
We have accomplished so much in these past 5 years;
• Installing a new sound system, kitchen, electrical system rewired.
• The re-payment of the loan for the underfloor heating system totalling £107,000,
• Developed a well-functioning Ministry Team incorporating a Family & Schools worker
• Strengthened and developed our Environmental outreach and Ministry
• Become an established training Parish for future leaders in our Diocese and beyond.
• A quality online presence, declaring the gospel to all who will listen.
• Partnered with other Churches and organisations to help with food poverty.
To name a just a few. I am extremely grateful to God for his grace and mercy to us. I am thankful to you, his people, as you have been willing to walk and work with me in this task.
And now we find ourselves in the next chapter of our story together, the next season of our souls…..
This past few months have been a challenge to us all, and the pandemic we face at this time is so dangerous to many of us.
What are we to do?
First and foremost, we must stay safe, look out for one another, and pray like we have never prayed before, this is my first request of you.
Let’s remind ourselves of the task at hand.
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
From my perspective, this means to create a vision that everyone will long to see come into fruition. It is the first step of leadership, the tasks will take care of themselves if everyone knows the vision.
The vision we have is for everyone we know to have the opportunity to encounter the God we love and worship. As the scriptures say: ‘To love him with all our heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbour as ourselves.’ Matthew 22:37-39
Rather than stir people up for boatbuilding tasks, we seek together to teach people to pursue a passion for ‘seafaring’. Our Seafaring being sharing the gospel in all its guises.
As this year draws to a close and a new year calls us, will join with me, and rise up to the challenge ahead?
We will need to petition for God to come among us, to give him permission to shape our lives, to deliver us from all evil. We will have to regain our sea legs, train our minds and give of ourselves wholeheartedly and all that we have to the task ahead.
Let us build the Kingdom of God.