Below is my report to our Annual PCC Meetings:
The Annual Parochial Church Meetings provide a good opportunity to look back and reflect on the past year. As I do so I am overwhelmed with thankfulness at God’s great faithfulness and for you all as we meet and minister together as Christ’s church and people. Thank-you to each and every one of you for all that you are, all that you bring and all the many and varied things that you do. A special thank-you to Lily for her administrative support and our Churchwardens and PCC’s for overseeing the good running and purpose of our churches. Thank you too for all who financially support the church and its mission.
By God’s grace a lot has taken place this year. Our children and youth ministry has included Family Service’s, Messy Church, Monthly weekday Holy Communion (an unexpected joy!), Children’s Choir Festival, Baptism Preparation, Confirmation Classes and School’s work with Burrough Green and Kettlefields.
Fellowship and Community Groups have included Monday Morning Prayer, Advent and Lent Courses and Confirmation Classes. We joined Newmarket Churches Together and are represented on Newmarket’s Interfaith Forum. Outside of church many of our members are involved in community and interest groups.
Sally Peyton became the Group Safeguarding Officer as we work to fulfil all our safe guarding obligations. Alix Allan became a Pastoral Visitor having completed the ALM Pastoral Worker course. Anthea Kenna and Alastair France joined the ministry team having completed Occasional Preachers training and a group are starting Bell ringing training in Brinkley!
Our fantastic website www.raddesley.com was launched, thank-you to Liz for this and we receive over 50 ‘hits’ a week, a good reminder to keep it up to date! The monthly news sheets continue to provide information across the parishes.
It was wonderful to see so many of our communities join us for the special Centenary Remembrance Services this year, our beacon/fire lighting and bell ringing joining in with a wave of national celebrations. Christmas Events and Services were well organised and attended. Easter saw the addition of Pancake and Pledges and the Easter Rise Service. We also held a Healing, Baby Loss Memorial and All Souls’ Service to help support people’s life journey’s. A stand out event was the presentation and celebration of Lily’s well deserved BEM Award during the Christmas Tree Festival.
Over the year we had three Weddings, and whilst I wish I could say ‘and a funeral’ sadly we had nineteen funerals across our villages. We had seven baptisms and at the deanery Confirmation Service held in our Group, we had two adults and two children confirmed.
Fundraising across the group has included Fetes, Fayres, Auctions, Bands, Draws and a village Christmas Card! I remain impressed at all the energy and organisation which goes into these events raising much needed funds for our churches, thank-you.
Whilst we celebrate and give thanks for all these things and so much more! We continue to face some significant challenges especially in regards to our financial resources. We were unable to meet the parish share in full as a Group this year, and are unlikely to do so in the year ahead. We are already prayerfully and boldly considering new ways to raise money as a Group to reduce the burden on individual churches. The year ahead will tell if we have enough energy and support to do this.
Of excitement for next year is the new ‘Open the Book’ teams who will be going into Burrough Green and Kettlefields schools to share God through bible stories. Expanding worship opportunities with occasional services like meditative Taize and to make our churches more accessible to all (e.g. becoming more dementia friendly) as we register as Inclusive Church.
Thank you again for all you are and all you do in service to God,
May God bless and multiply all you do.
Marie Kondo, (for those who aren’t yet indoctrinated!) is a Japanese tidying and decluttering expert who has made millions encouraging people to find joy and peace in cleaning and organising their homes. Her advice is to hold each item and determine whether it sparks joy or not before deciding whether to keep it and then to take a moment to thank each piece you do let go for the part it played in your life. Interesting!
What if we applied this logic more widely in our life? In letting go of versions of ourselves that are no longer us, of who we can or desire to be? Thanking our past as we gently lay it down to create space and opportunity for something new?
In some ways that is what Lent offers us, a chance (40 days!) to do an internal audit, a spring clean of our lives. To simplify life for a time, be it in removing or reducing the distractions that can cloud our view of self, of God (rich foods, alcohol, smartphones, Netflix!). The aim is to give time and space to realign and to appreciate the simple beauties and purpose of life. To spiritually breathe in the love of God and to bask in the full beauty of spring…
Revd Nikki Mann
Nikki is the Priest in Charge of the Raddesley Benefice (which consists of 6 churches) in Cambridgeshire