I was intrigued to look back to last year and see that a year ago I asked whether there were ways in which we might as a church, reach out more into the community?
I am delighted to note that one year on there are two ways in particular in which the Church in Pattingham and Patshull has done just that. And in both instances, while I have very much tried to encourage and support, the main impetus has come from others within the congregation. (Note to self: things work much better when the Vicar is not seen to be driving things!)
The first was the Open the Book initiative. For those who don’t know what this is, two groups of people take it in turns every fortnight to go into the school and ‘act’ and narrate a bible story for the children – wherever possible involving them in the action too. It has been a huge success and I am so grateful to Alison Colin-Stokes for setting up the teams and administering the ‘scripts’ – even though her own work commitments in another school mean that she cannot take part personally!
The second will get under way this month. Henry and Liz Ibberson came to the Pastoral Care group with an idea to provide a monthly ‘buffet’ style lunch in the village hall, aimed at those people in our community who maybe live on their own and would welcome the occasional opportunity to meet with friends and neighbours for something to eat and some social interaction. Since the demise of the late lamented “Thursday Club” – which had folded before I moved to Pattingham, there has been a definite lack of this sort of provision. So let us hope that this new venture gets off to a good start – I am thrilled that lots of people have shown interest in helping; either on the day or preparing food in advance or offering to help with transport if required.
In May our new(ish) Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Michael Ipgrave will also be launching his first vision setting day for the Diocese on 20th May with a new strapline; “Come follow Christ in the steps of St Chad.”
I like the way that it includes an invitation to come and a clear commitment to Christ as the guide and inspiration for our lives today. And the example of St Chad – which of course has particular resonance for us here in Pattingham (!), is a fine one. Humility, patience and a deep love for the community – these were the characteristics for Chad’s ministry among the people of Mercia.
May will also see a repeat of the special week of prayer called nationally by our Archbishops, Welby and Sentamu – “Thy Kingdom Come”. At the time of writing I am still considering how we will take part ourselves – but I am sure there will be something going on towards the second half of the month – keep an eye on our website and facebook page!
Lastly I would like to take this chance to thank Dr Ken Scott for his wonderful work and support as Churchwarden, but also to give a big welcome and thank you to Gena Richards for standing with Dr. Iain Coleman as our Wardens for this coming year. Ken is also our Reader of course, and I look forward to him being able to play an even bigger part in the life of our parish in this role, and we would both love to discover other people who might consider training for this or another form of authorised ministry! So what about it?
Happy May and every Blessing…