Vicar's Column - February 2019
St John the Baptist Parish Church
Christian discipleship entails allocating a proportion of our time and talents in God’s service. The danger today is that working lives are so demanding of our time and talents that there is little time left for God and the Christian community. Church meetings and events may come on top of a long stressful day. It can feel like one task too many.
The original meaning of the word church meant “the people”. Initially, church buildings did not exist. Of course now that they do, we need to maintain them and make good use of them and that is all part of our Christian Stewardship. Currently, we look forward to the restoration the stained glass windows and we are thankful for the financial contributions which have enabled this project. On the flip side, considering the church as the people, the body of Christ, there is the teaching of St Paul. In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul uses the analogy of the physical body to talk about the different members of the church. Just as there are many different parts to the one body, so there are many different members in the church. Just as the body needs all its parts to function effectively, so the body of the church relies on all its different members to make up the whole. Baptism, not ordination, is the primary qualification for the ministry and mission of all believers. Every single church member is significant and so are the tasks they carry out, whether cleaning or preaching it is all valued in the sight of God and is necessary for the functioning of our community.
Thank you to everyone who works selflessly for the good of this church and for God’s greater glory – for every contribution no matter how big or small. Those of you who feel that there is something you could be doing but aren’t yet, then now is the time to think and pray about your contribution to the life of this church and to respond accordingly. There may be things we would perhaps rather not do, but need to be done, as a sacrificial response. In doing those things we follow the example of Christ as the Servant-King. We each have time and talents. When we use them in God’s service we are helping to build up the church community and expand God’s kingdom on earth. Everyone has gifts they to offer in the service of the church. If you are new to St John’s and ready to become a little more involved, or an old hand who would like to try out a new area of church life, then do have a chat with me about it and complete the “Time and Talents” form attached to this edition of SJN.
One way in which church members can get really involved and have more of a say in church life is to
join the PCC. The article inside giving notice of the APCM details the qualifications required in order to become a member. What is the purpose of the PCC? The Church Representation rules book highlights the following as the most important priorities:
“To cooperate with the incumbent in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the church”
“To provide a forum for debate for matters concerning the Church of England”
Clearly, it is not just about discussing “nuts and bolts” maintenance issues. Changes can happen in the wider church and in society because they are first raised at a PCC meeting. Issues at the “grass roots” level can be escalated up the chain from parish to deanery, diocese and national church. If there is something we feel passionate about we can have a voice. The PCC is also responsible for the policy, finance and property of the church and members act as Charity Trustees. Our parish vision priorities are reviewed and agreed by the PCC on an annual basis. The priorities for this year will be outlined at the APCM. These arise out of our overarching vision, full details of which can be found on the parish website. They are captured on our vision bookmark – there are still some copies available if you would like one.
The PCC meets for 6 full meetings each year and one short meeting after the APCM. The dates for each calendar year are circulated after the APCM. The PCC appoints various sub-committees, which also recruit non-PCC members: Standing & Finance, Fabric (including Health & Safety), Safeguarding, Missions, Worship, Outreach, Pastoral, Stewardship, Communications, Social and May Fair. PCC members generally belong to two or more sub-committees, where the majority of the PCC’s work is done. Each committee reports in writing for each PCC meeting.
Would you like to have a greater say in the life of our parish and national church? Moreover, is God prompting you to become PCC member and/or to be co-opted onto one of the subcommittees? Do talk to myself or a member of the PCC to find more. (The PCC board in the hall has mug shots of the current PCC).
It is expected that clergy (and some church members) will also use their time and talents beyond the parish for the benefit of the deanery/diocese – what Bishop John Prichard used to call a “sixth day ministry”. I have become a tutor for the diocese, teaching the curates’ Spirituality and Ministry Coursethis term, putting my doctoral studies into good use. It means that on three Sundays (27thJan, 24thFeb & 24thMarch) I will be otherwise engaged up at Church House, Oxford. It is an exciting challenge but one that is currently adding to my stress levels! I am pleased that on the second and third Sundays, Hazel will be joining me to share the load and imparting her insights into Franciscan Spirituality, the Labyrinth and Hildegard of Bingen. Do spare us a thought/ prayer and we will be thinking of you back in Crowthorne on those days.
Revd Dr Lisa Cornwell
Church Office (firstname.lastname@example.org )
- 01344 761521
Find St John the Baptist Parish Church
Waterloo Road, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 7NT
There is ample parking along Waterloo Road, and around the back of the Church on the unmade road Church Street.