Deacons’ Page – December 2021

Deacons' Page

Two contributions this month – as our diaconate has substantially changed.

Firstly, from our ‘retiring’ deacons…

In many ways this page is going to be a thank you and a welcome.

Firstly a thank you to Jemima for representing our church at the Remembrance Sunday service at the Clock Tower on the 14th November.

Last Wednesday was the Church Meeting at which the election of officers took place. This is the deacons and the various roles which help the smooth running of the day to day running of the church.

We said thank you to Sally and Elizabeth for their years of service as deacons, as they stood down for a well-earned rest. This was followed by a welcome for our new deacons Trisha, Jeannette, Antony and Phil. We wish them every blessing and God’s guidance as they lead the church in their new roles. The other officers were also agreed, Sally Pulpit Secretary, Caroline Flower rota, Elizabeth Treasurer, Antony minute secretary and Newsletter editor and Phil as Church secretary.

We look forward to Advent beginning on the last Sunday of November heralding the Christmas celebrations, which will include our Carols by candle light on the 19th December at 6.30pm. Followed by coffee and mince pies, do bring a friend.

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Secondly, from just one of our ‘new’ deacons (me!) as we’ve not yet (after only three days in office) ‘got our act together’ sufficiently to speak with one voice…

Our ‘Annual’ Church Meeting last Wednesday evening heralded such important changes in the leadership and administration of our Church that perhaps more needs to be said than is so succinctly summarised above.

Elizabeth Crewes and Sally Moody decided not to stand for re-election as Deacons (they weren’t ‘voted off’ or anything like that) and as, with Trisha Lumm, they have led our Church through the momentously difficult time of the pandemic, we owe them all an enormous debt of gratitude – although as Sally remains our organist and Elizabeth our treasurer, the “well-earned rest” mentioned above is perhaps a little optimistic. Referring to Jeannette Butler, Phil Andrews and myself as ‘new’ deacons is something of a misnomer as we have all served as our deacons before (although in my case, nearly a half-century ago) so let’s hope and pray that we can bring experience as well as enthusiasm to our new roles.

Changes other than to our diaconate were mainly ‘re-shuffling’ the same people into different roles (perhaps inevitable in a fellowship as small as ours) but that should not be regarded as unimportant because we can all bring fresh insights into unfamiliar situations. Sally Moody has succeeded Caroline Andrews as our Pulpit Secretary – ‘booking’ the preachers, both ‘home’ and ‘away’, who lead our worship services) – and Trisha Lumm (who has arranged the Flower Rota for longer than even I can remember) has been succeeded in that role by Caroline Andrews.

Another noticeable feature of Wednesday evening’s meeting were offers of cooperation – while I was re-elected as both Newsletter Editor and Minute Secretary, Phil Andrews offered to help with the former and Jeannette Butler with the latter. Of course Church Members should be expected to co-operate with each other, but to receive these offers was much appreciated – it was another positive sign of the general health of our fellowship, as was Phil Andrews’ speculation as to whether more cooperation of some kind might be possible with the Hosanna congregation – whether two Churches using the same building might do more together. A.W.B.

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An Apology: In a footnote to my article on ‘Church Membership’ last month, I asked ‘Does watching a ‘Zoom’ service constitute ‘worship’? As far as I’m concerned, “the jury’s out” on that one – but for our Church it’s by the way’ because our Church didn’t have ‘Zoom’ services.’ It was soon pointed out to me that this was factually inaccurate, as our Church did provide ‘Zoom’ services throughout the pandemic – although I had not personally participated in them. My only experience of ‘Zoom’ services was at other Churches and involved my being asked to conduct services in near-empty churches (with congregations restricted to ‘technicians’ and the ‘computer illiterate’ like myself). I was instructed as to where the microphone and camera were, reminded that an unknown number of people might, or might not, be ‘tuning in’, after which I was expected to conduct a ‘normal’ service. That was what I had in mind when querying the ‘worship’ value of such services, but that was obviously a very different format from the one adopted by our Church – there’s clearly more than one way to ‘Zoom’! I offer my sincere apologies for my error – A.W.B.

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