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Vicar's Musings for Ordinary Sunday 6

16 February, 2014

This week the 2015 Parish Mission planning committee met for the second time. It was a rather exciting meeting; the quiet presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable. Plans are beginning to take shape for the visit of the Rt Rev'd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, from July 19th to 26th next year. But more than that, one of the central tenets of the Mission became crystal clear as we brain-stormed ideas: it starts now and won't finish then. We are a missional church at St Peter's Eastern Hill, just as we were in the twentieth century, just as we were amongst the first settlers in the 1840s.

So what does a missional church look like in 2014? Many of you have read Bp Stephen's book From the Abundance of the Heart: Catholic Evangelism for All Christians (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2006) and are familiar with his "growth spiral." A missional church actively seeks to make contact with those who are not yet Christian or members of the church. We develop ways in which to actively welcome and nurture new people God sends our way, encouraging them in due course to make a commitment to active church membership. As fellow pilgrims and disciples of Christ we then together seek ways to grow in our faith and understanding.

As Lent approaches the clergy and lay leadership teams are planning a number of missional activities, and we welcome and encourage the involvement of all parishioners. Next weekend will be a very full one. I am hosting afternoon tea at the Vicarage on Saturday, between 2pm and 5pm, for newer members of the parish. On Sunday we will commission Melissa Clark, on a year's placement with us from Trinity, and launch the new monthly Children's Mass, a service modelled on the very successful Christmas Eve service. Then after the 11am High Mass there will be a lunch for the Handfield Club. Sunday 2nd March at 5pm will see the first of our new monthly Taizé services, aimed at youth outreach and building up the evening congregation. On Shrove Tuesday, 4th March, there will be a Pancake Party in the Hall from 6pm, followed by the launch of Fr Samuel's Lenten course. The next day, Ash Wednesday, there will be the usual services at 7.15am and 1.15pm, and a High Mass at 6.15pm. We will also launch the "Ashes to Go" outreach at Parliament Station after the 7.15am and 1.15pm services. On Thursday 6th March at 7.30pm in the Vicarage I will begin the pilot of Bp Cottrell's "Pilgrim" course, and then on Wednesday 12th March two further Lenten Study Groups will commence: 2.30pm in the Vicarage, studying Janet Morley's book The Heart's Time: A Poem a Day for Lent and Easter, and at 7.30pm in at their home Bp Graeme and Caroline will lead a study of the book Looking Through the Cross by Graham Tomlin.

Do join us for some or many of these missional Lenten activities, as we journey together into God's future for us.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

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