At our A.G.M. in February Murray raised the question ‘Where/What next?’ about the way forward for the church. On 4th March we talked about what we think are our strengths to build on, but didn’t seem to come to any conclusion. We shall continue the discussion at this month’s Church meeting.
The survey of our buildings was quite serious, with the report taking 59 pages including a few blank pages, several pages of guidance notes and many photos. As we read it more carefully we find that some of the recommendations are superfluous, such as smoothing the parking area. Others, such as improving the base of the boiler room, can wait. Some need attention now so we have to make a programme of action, starting with the leaking guttering etc.. Strangely, the Synod Property officer is discouraging us from rescuing the building; it brings his interests into question.
Murray led the service for all the churches in the Pastorate when we gathered at Alsager. There were marked differences which enhanced the service, and traditional items which gave security. Stuart Radcliffe spoke about Jeremiah 29 and Mark 5 teaching us to settle down where we are for that is where God has placed us, and yet take our differences into the community and families that have rejected our faith. We were grateful to Ian for his music on the piano, Christine for her prayers, and Elizabeth and Lisa for reading the scriptures. The tea was excellent, of course, with plenty of chat.
Isobel and Margaret Jeffreys have asked to be received as members. After a brief discussion we are pleased to welcome them. Isobel, in particular, has a good understanding of the Christian faith, as we can tell from her contributions during Wednesday services. They have been faithful church-goers since their youth. More recently they have attended Chorlton Methodist church (south of Crewe), who worshipped on Sunday mornings until they closed last week. Isobel had taken on responsibilities there. They have been attending our church for over a year now whenever they can. Unfortunately for us they are unable to come to afternoon services due to their voluntary work at Mill Meece Pumping Station in Staffordshire; they also have special events there on occasional Sunday evenings. “As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2. 4,5)
Margaret and Isobel were received into membership during September Communion. ‘Received’ doesn’t read right; it should be ‘welcomed’ for we are very pleased to have them officially in our midst.
Derek is still not well, staying at home most of the time, receiving treatment from carers and nurses. Murray’s been and that encourages Derek. We don’t like admitting that he may not return to our services.
Mim’s daughter was married in the Lake District.
We have met Lee Battle who will be with Murray for two years as she finishes her training for ministry. She introduced herself to us as ‘gay’ which is the same as ‘lesbian’. While she was in a long-term relationship they had two children, Nathaniel and Marley, who now live with Lee after the couple separated. Thus, in addition to studying for the ministry, she is a single mum, studying for a Master’s degree, and is about to start a community placement, hopefully with the Agricultural Chaplaincy. Murray is understandably protective about her time with us. Murray has discussed with us where our mission and ministry should be and is now asking us to consider how we might engage with the people in the area. Now we start to prepare for the special services from 25th November to 6th January.