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Vicar's Musings for Michaelmas

30 September, 2012

This month's musings are taken from the Vicar's report to Vestry.

Signs of Growth

It is very encouraging to see signs of growth and new life at St Peter's. As I have reported elsewhere, the attendance figures indicate that the decline in congregational attendance over the past 5 years has been arrested, and that there are modest signs of growth across all Sunday services; a 3% increase compared with this time last year. Interestingly our offertory giving has increased this month also by around 3%. Another encouraging sign is the growth in our wedding ministry. On the weekend of 9-11 November, for example, we have four weddings (no funeral I hope). The Newer Members' Lunch three weeks ago was a big success with more than 20 people attending.


Sadly, Fr Philip Bewley resigned this week as Associate Priest at St Peter's Eastern Hill. His current placement as Priest-in-Charge at St Peter's Fawkner is a very demanding one. Fr Philip will be moving into the Fawkner Vicarage next month and understandably wants to focus all his energies on his new parish. He is still keen for our two parishes to work together, and a Parish Partnership proposal from Fr Philip is included below. My thanks to Fr Philip for the skills he has contributed to the parish, and for his friendship on my arrival in the parish.

Fr Sam Ata is completing his PhD, and my family and I are blessed to have him living with us at the Vicarage for three months.

Two new clerical staff appointments are progressing well. The position of part-time Lazarus Chaplain has been offered to a priest, and I am hopeful that an announcement will be made in the next week or two. The Wardens and I are interviewing next month for the position of full-time Curate Assistant at St Peter's Eastern Hill. All going well we will be in the position to make an appointment soon after that.

I am working with the Wardens to update all position descriptions and working agreements of our lay staff. This is a lengthy and sensitive process, but an important one for us as a parish, to establish a fair and equitable employment culture.

Parish Partnership with Fawkner

Fr Philip Bewley looks forward to continuing to build our Parish Partnership with St Peter's Fawkner, and has requested help with:

  • Office Administration: pewsheet, telephone etc.
  • Occasional appearance by a priest of St Peter's Eastern Hill at Fawkner, either preaching or celebrating, perhaps once every couple of months.
  • Working Bees, putting on major services, etc.
  • Planning of major projects (eg. Business Plan for site redevelopment)
If any parishioners are able to offer help to Fr Philip, please contact Kosta in the parish office or Fr Philip directly on: 0412 584 690.

Mission Action Plan Update

After a lengthy period of planning and consultation, we have gathered many ideas as to how we can "Grow in God's Love" as a parish. The flow diagram below is borrowed from this month's Apostrophe magazine. It demonstrates how your Vicar feels as we approach the end of this process.

Illustration for Michaelmas Musings

Just joking ... we have an excellent lay and clergy leadership team at St Peter's (and I've not had that much hair since the '70s). Actually, the parish leadership team has made great progress on the Mission Action Plan already, but we do need to spread the load further and build up new leaders where ever we can. Names, volunteers and suggestions are always welcome.

Progress Made to Date on the Six Mission Objectives:

Objective 1: to grow the worship service spiritually and numerically

  • Survey distributed to parishioners
  • Meeting to discuss Evensong

Objective 2: to better incorporate new members and strengthen pastoral care of parishioners

  • Appointment of Incorporation Coordinator
  • Newer member lunch

Objective 3: to strengthen and develop Christian Education and Spiritual growth

  • Wedding brochure updated
  • Confirmation classes in preparation for Sunday November 18th
  • Flourishing of Mysticism course
  • ISS and Trinity Certificate planning for 2013
  • Planning for Franciscan Pastoral Visit to St Peters in 2013

Objective 4: to broaden and build the parish's services to the disadvantaged and mission outreach

  • Formed a steering committee to assist Lazarus Chaplain
  • Appointment of Lazarus Chaplain (pending)
  • Strengthen links with Brotherhood of St Laurence

Objective 5: to grow parish giving and the stewardship of time and money

  • Successful Foundation Appeal
  • Sermon & pewsheet on parish giving
  • Work of Property Committee ...
  • Work of Investments Committee ...

Objective 6: to develop electronic communication and strengthen links to city of Melbourne

  • Transfer parish roll on to Excel spreadsheet
  • Poster-boards on road frontage (pending)
  • Re-establish chaplaincy to State Parliament
  • Links with Melbourne Rotary

We are making significant progress in our mission as a parish, but there are also areas that probably need addressing sooner rather than later:

  • Communications
  • Social Events
  • Gardens

If anyone would like to offer leadership in any of these areas, please contact the parish office or talk to the Vicar or any Vestry member.

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