Vicar's Letter

VERSE OF 2017:


“Christ in you, the hope of glory!”


Colossians 1:27b

(New International Version)


Not the Vicar’s letter!


Since I became churchwarden at St. John’s in April, people have been asking me two questions.  The first is ‘What do churchwardens do?’ to which the answer would seem to be ‘everything that they can’t persuade someone else to do!’  For me, this has included weeding; choosing the décor for the new church hall kitchen; liaising with the police over thefts and attempted thefts of lead; and approving payments from the church bank account.


Once I’ve answered that question, the next is ‘Whatever made you take it on?’ and the answer to that, at least, is easy.  ‘Mike asked me to do it’.  Mike Bunce is one of a handful of people who do so very much for this church that if they ask me to do something and it is within my capacity, I will say yes (I won’t embarrass the others by listing them!)  In addition, succession planning is at work – my excellent deputy warden, Jo Watson, is keen to take over from me.


So there are two points which arise here, and the first is that anything and everything the church does will cost money.  Coffee and biscuits after services – tick.  Messy Church – tick.  Repairing criminal damage to the roof – tick.  New kitchen in the church hall – tick tick tick.  You get my point.


We have just installed the connection to the mains sewer.  Again, Mike and John McGinty put in a lot of work to connect it up to a new toilet and to the sink at the coffee bar at the back of church at minimum cost.  All this has been done without any special appeals to our church membership; but now our reserves are at a low point.


I know many of you are impatient to see a loo that can be locked, at the very minimum.  Others want a prayer room, a separate office, a crèche – but we simply cannot afford to rush ahead and make any short-term changes to the vestry, if at a later date they have to be undone (wasting money coming and going).  We need a long-term plan to be approved and costed.  Then we can press ahead with the heavy-duty fund-raising that any building work to our church requires.


All the quiz nights, concerts, cake sales in the world won’t raise that kind of money (not even Julian’s sponsored bike rides – thank you Julian!).  But we have to carry on with them, for if we don’t do our bit to raise money, why would any large donor give us theirs?  So please, be generous as we get fund-raising, though there should always be some FUN in that!


My second point is that you would not believe how much work goes on behind the scenes simply to stay where we are, let alone to forge ahead with any of the exciting new stuff being mooted.  You might see the schedules and wonder at how many volunteers it takes to run one service on a Sunday, let alone four – but that is only the body of the swan!  What you may not see is what else goes on below the surface, paddling furiously to give an impression of calm – though these people probably all appear on the schedules as well.


So, please do join in with the fundraising – sponsor Julian’s efforts, or sign up for one of the St. Swithun’s Day challenges.  And if you are asked by a harassed churchwarden (or indeed anyone else!) to consider siding at evening service, learning how to work the sound desk, or coming along to a churchyard work party – please consider that too.


Thank you all for your support for me so far, and I leave you with this thought:


Lord, I love you and trust in you

I place myself into your hands

Today and every day

For evermore.


Sue Newbitt, Churchwarden