Apcm rector's report for 2014
2014 was another year to thank God for. As we sought to grow the Kingdom it was a huge encouragement to welcome 300 souls through the doors on one Sunday and having given thanks for that we were amazed when just a month later we broke that record with 350 people on another Sunday. There is much growth and signs of new life for which we are very grateful indeed. Of course such numerical growth causes all sorts of follow-on problems but these are problems which are great to have and in that sense we should welcome them.
The Vision Process was almost completed and we agreed on a set of core values and a vision that saw us as a Church that: worshipped God, made friends and change the world. We will strive to ensure that all our activities have one or more of these objectives running through them like the words in Brighton rock.
The decision to take the Church for a weekend away was taken and so far we have just under 100 adults and some 25 children coming. There are a few rooms left so it isn’t too late to join us on this important event.
One of the main growth drivers has been the new 9.30am family service. Numbers have grown and grown and we have on 2 occasions passed the 100 mark. This is remarkable for such a new service and testimony to the immense amount of work that goes in to running it. Messy Church has also grown and continues to be ‘church’ for a regular congregation who see no reason to come at any other time. One of the most satisfying things has been to see the 11am not just maintain its size but to grow too. Being able to be more creative with liturgy (without the constraints of ministering to a demographic that prefers less formal worship) has been liberating and feedback on the new seasonal service booklets is very positive. Whilst the new service pattern has bedded in there remains some pressure with regards to the in-between time and we keep this under review to see what we can do better. Starting the 9.30 at 9.15 or the 11 and 11.15 would solve the problem but at the moment neither congregation wants to move!
Our control over the car parking was challenged by Bucks CC and we are still involved in a legal wrangle over whether we have the right to do this. I am confident sense will prevail and we’ll know whether we can control parking by mid-June but in the meantime I am negotiating with the University to see whether we can use some of their parking on a Sunday.
The huge amount of planning and preparation that was carried out by Ray Mitchell and Warren Whyte with regards the redevelopment project bore fruit.
The start of the re-development project, despite a significant fund-raising shortfall was only made possible by an amazing legacy left us by the late Peggy Dale. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t shoot up a thank-you
prayer. The downside of sitting on a large legacy is that giving drops off and our need for a Stewardship
Director is very keenly felt.
We managed to replace all the high-level floodlights which has improved the lighting levels but most importantly meant that there is no dangerous, weekly ladder-climb to change filaments – another project made possible by Peggy’s generosity.
Holiday Club (Venue 1) returned to the Parish Church and was a great success although numbers were down.
We were blessed with clear skies for the Fête and apart from a lot of fun and some good conversations we managed to raise a significant sum. Thanks go to Fiona Hewitt for pulling it all together. We have decided not to run one in 2015 due to the Parish Weekend Away and so this is another reason why we need to raise our giving.
A major encouragement has been the work undertaken by Rev’d Michael Greig to breath new life into our wonderful Home Group system – now called Connect Groups.
On the social side we enjoyed a wonderful Seder (Passover) Meal cooked by a team led by Cath McCabe. Cath also organised a Fashion Show with Ada Rugg and of course there was the Barn Dance – another huge success.
Just before Christmas we entered a float into the annual Buckingham Christmas Parade and won in two classes: best overall float and best overall. Huge thanks to the Tubridys for their hard work.
As ever I am indebted to the Wardens for their heroic work keeping the show on the road, Jan in the office (with her team), our small-but-perfect staff team of Richard, Anne, Sue & Chloe, the PCC, sidespeople, cleaners, musicians, kid’s group volunteer leaders and helpers, choir, drain-clearers, bulb changers, Connect group leaders, Alpha Team, servers, flower-arrangers and last but not least Cath McCabe who has done so much with her gifts of hospitality and whose inspirational leadership of the Soup Service is bringing such joy to so many people in our community.
Revd Will Pearson-Gee