John’s New Year Letter

 

letter 1215

The Combined Parishes of

Goetre, Llanover, Mamhilad and Monkswood with Glascoed

January 2016

Dear Friends

Can I take this opportunity of wishing you all best wishes for the New Year.

Christmas and the New Year are known as times of celebration and joy. But I am also mindful of those who are suffering at this time.

I am sure we have all watched the news and felt for those who have been flooded over the Christmas period. I would ask you all to remember in your thoughts and prayers everyone who has suffered because of the floods, or for any other reason.

You may be aware that Jayne and I do not send Christmas cards, but please be assured that all those we have come to know and love are remembered in our thoughts and prayers at this time of year. We will be making a donation in lieu of cards this year to the Samaritans.

The Vicar’s Christmas party was a great success, and I am sure it will be the first of many.

If we think about the things which make a ‘successful’ church I am sure we could come up with a number of indicators, an obvious one is the numbers attending services, but this is by no means the only one.

In the New Year I would like us all to think about ways we can look at what we are doing, and more importantly the way we are doing things which will improve the success we have as a church.

Before we start to think of what we are doing we need to be sure all that we do is safe. To help us be assured of this we are lucky to have Lyn and Terry Davies on board as a safeguarding team. Both have a wealth of experience of working in the safeguarding field, and we are so lucky that they have agreed to take on this important function. One of their first steps will be to bring the records up to date, and so many of you will be having contact with them over the coming weeks.

Bishop Richard has set a challenge to us as a Diocese to look at mission within our churches. If we think about what we do, we are quite good at ministry within our own 4 walls, but perhaps not so good at taking the message of God’s kingdom out into our communities.

That doesn’t mean standing on street corners wearing a sandwich board, but it is more about living loving lives where people are, and showing them that to live life knowing Jesus is fun and vibrant, but also rewarding.

To do that we must look at our own lives first, and ask ourselves the question when we look into a mirror, what do we see?

I hope the answer is that we see a happy, contented person, living a life in Christ, loving God and our neighbour.

And if we see that, then that is the image of the church. This is the image which we need to be showing as our mission.

All our Christmas services, especially the crib services were very well attended. Following on the crib service idea, we are planning a ‘pancake evening’ for the 9th February with an introduction to Lent. There will also be a Lent Study group and Lent reflections, so keep an eye on the pews sheets and website for details. Also the new facebook page entitled goetre fawr churches. Please share this with anyone you know so they will be able to view posts.

We are continuing to develop the Shadow Ministry Area Council, and this is an important stage towards becoming a Ministry Area.

Looking forward to 2016 this will be an exciting year. Aside from the usual events I have been involved in a steering group which is organising a harpathon in St Bartholomews church on Saturday 23rd April, to be followed by a Village Celebration Songs of Praise on the Sunday, hopefully with bells peeling. This is part of the Eisteddfod which, as you know, will be in Abergavenny this year.

At the end of June Stephen will be ordained, and that will be another cause for great celebration! I am very grateful for his support and hard work, and the support which Christine gives. I must also say how grateful I am to Revd Canon Stephen James and Ven Peter Woodman for taking their regular Services in the group, and also for the continuing support of Mark and especially Heather for the lead she takes with the midweek service.

Developing and growing our ministry team will be such an important part of the new ministry area, and without the continuing commitment from all members of the team we are, in the immortal words from Private Frazer of Dad’s Army, ‘doooomed !!!!’

I mentioned earlier those suffering because of the flooding, and I was particularly struck by one victim, when interviewed, saying that although he was devastated, one positive thing which he had noticed was the sense of community which had prevailed.

I am hoping and praying that our community can nurture the same feeling of mutual support without the need for the devastation of a flood or other disaster.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the combined service at St Peters on the 31st January

With New Year Blessings

John

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