Vicar's Musings for Dedication Sunday (OS 18)
5 August, 2012
This week's musings are taken from the Vicar's report to the August Vestry.
The results of the National Church Life Survey for St Peter's have just arrived on my desk; they make interesting reading. I have posted the full report on the St Peter's website for anyone who would like to read it (click here to download. Note, this is 6.9Mb, so do not download on a slow Internet connection) but in summary the returns from the 111 parishioners surveyed would suggest that we see our top three core qualities at St Peter's as: worship, service and faith. Conversely inclusion, leadership and innovation are seen as areas in which we are least strong. Our average age is 58 years. The most common leadership strength was identified as "listening deeply" and the thing that needs most attention in our parish is "growing into a larger congregation." The results of the Church Life Survey should come as no big surprise to anyone. They certainly correlate with what I have heard again and again from parishioners during my three months of intensive pastoral visiting. We need to grow as a parish!
Business as usual is clearly not an option, and I encourage vestry to consider launching a Decade of Mission and Ministry on "The Hill" at this year's AGM. Some of the strategic growth areas we will need to consider are:
Staffing for growth is essential at this early stage, and I ask Vestry to consider budgeting for a Curate in 2013. With the right person this will give us a dynamic ordained ministry team to launch our Decade of Mission and Ministry on "The Hill". Ordained ministry, however, will only be part of the equation; we will need to build our volunteer base across all areas of mission and ministry. The success of our endeavours will depend on every member of the congregation contributing in some way, whether through the gift of money or time, or just faithfully turning up each week to worship and making the effort to befriend new members over a cuppa after church.
Over the month of August I will develop a draft strategic plan, in consultation with the wardens, staff and other key parish leaders. We will consider this in some detail at the next Vestry meeting and then start communicating the detail of it with the parish in September, which is traditionally our Stewardship month. I hope that we will then be able to adopt the plan at this year's AGM and start building momentum for the tasks ahead of us as a parish. Other parish news to report on this month:
The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster
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