Dear Church Family,
As we head deeper into the summer months, many of us are starting to look for the opportunity to book a holiday (or a short break at least), catch up with family and friends, and maybe (dare I say it) return to church worship in order to fully participate in the music, liturgy and sacraments. However, as I write this letter, there are already articles in the news suggesting that the current lockdown restrictions might be with us for most of July too and that the presence of the “Delta” variant of Covid-19 is the likely reason the 21st June won’t see a full lifting of restrictions.
By now we’re all used to this kind of disappointment and frustration – so whatever the government announces this coming Monday, I’d like to encourage all of you to stand firm and remain hopeful, even if some of the things we’ve been dreaming of for so long may not come to fruition in the time scales we had hoped for.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58
These words from St Paul are a great reminder that our hope lies beyond any government announcement, and that we have a calling and responsibility to continue the work of the Lord as the Body of Christ in Hutton (and beyond). We can all play our part in this, as Christ calls each of us to faithfully witness to the love and life of his Gospel.
At the recent APCM, I touched upon our parish vision and some of the ways we would like to develop and grow in the coming years. In 2019 the PCC began the work of putting a statement together that would help shape the ministry of the parish. We arrived at:
“Be with Jesus. Be like Jesus. Do what Jesus did.”
There’s lot more to this than just a catchy strap line. Each sentence has a number of actions and values attached to it which provide direction and context to the stated aim. The summarised version I have given here should help each of us think in 3 different ways about the Christian life. “Be with Jesus” (worship) relates to our personal and collective worship practices and helps us connect with God, to deepen our relationship with Him, and to allow his Word to speak to us. “Be like Jesus”(fellowship) relates to our character and life as disciples of Christ – it should shape our life with one another as we learn from Christ, pray together and love one another faithfully. “Do what Jesus did” (mission) is there to remind us that our Christian lives must relate to the wider world – our communities are full of people in need of love, support, prayer and healing. We believe the Christ came to redeem and restore the whole world and that he asks us to reach out to others with his life, love and grace.
I will be saying more about this on Sunday morning in my sermon at St Peter’s – this will also be available on the Facebook page during the livestream at 9.30am.
All Saints Church
At the APCM I spoke about the importance of our development of All Saints Church in the next year or so. Like so many churches of its type, All Saints is a well-loved, peaceful centre of worship for the parish. It’s history and place in the community mean that it has a clearly defined purpose for mission and ministry. It’s the place the people of Hutton come to for weddings, baptisms and funerals and is the centre point for our civic services on Remembrance Sunday. Sadly, like many country churches it also has an ageing and diminishing congregation and needs a fresh injection life and energy in order to give Sundays the same focus the church has for the rest of the week. We have recently decided to close the 8am Sunday service permanently, although we have resurrected it at 9.30am on a Wednesday morning instead.
In order that we don’t risk closing the 11.15am service in the next 10 years, I would like both individuals, couples and families to consider if they could make the 11.15am their new Sunday “home”. The intention is clear – to boost the congregational numbers, to support the existing ministry team and wardens, to welcome and support wedding couples and baptism families, to introduce a Children’s Church (Sunday School), to reinvigorate the choir and worship, and to grow younger.
We have made decisions to modernise some of the worship at St Peter’s without compromising our sacramental heart, and this has come with signs of success and growth. The intention with All Saints’ is maintain traditional style of worship as befits the setting. This does not mean it won’t change and develop but it is an assurance that we want to continue to offer a range of styles across the parish to make the worship as accessible to as many people as possible. From the ministry team’s perspective, I promise that we will continue to work hard to develop and provide meaningful, engaging liturgy, worship and high-quality preaching and teaching for all ages.
So, if a more traditional worship setting is something you engage with and do not want to see vanish from the parish, can I invite you to pray about joining the 11.15am congregation and intentionally playing your part in its development and growth? This might mean the congregation at St Peter’s is pruned a little but that is not a problem – pruning can and should lead to new growth.
Please get in touch with me directly if you wish to discuss this: firstname.lastname@example.org 01277 514896
John’s last services as a Licensed Lay Minister will be Sunday 27th June. He will preach at both morning Holy Communion services, before we gather for a parish lunch at St Peter’s from 1pm. All are welcome, but please phone or email the Parish Office to confirm your attendance.
If you would like to donate towards a gift for John, please send cash or cheques to the Parish Office by Sunday 20thJune. Bank transfers referenced “John Patterson Gift” are also welcome.
Aside from the usual Sunday morning services, you join us in church for worship on the following days:
Wednesdays – 9.30am at All Saints for Prayer Book Holy Communion
Contemporary Evening Worship (CEW) on the 1st Sunday of the month at St Peter’s starting at 7pm.
You can also join us on Facebook for our Sunday Eucharist at 9.30am and for Morning Prayer at 9am, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Go to www.facebook.com/huttonparish to join in.
This week's pew-sheet can be downloaded here:
With every blessing,