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Change and Cuts?

Our whole country is facing cuts. We are just beginning to feel them bite: as services, grants and child benefit are cut or reduced. VAT is soon to go up and doubtless other taxes and costs will as well. The church is part of the community and not surprisingly we feel the effects as well. How do they impact us? Well, not surprisingly, in a similar way. Money is tight, resources are limited, so we need to be at our most efficient with what we have.

In addition, there is a shortage of clergy being trained in most denominations, the Church of England included. There are too few curates to replace the vicars who retire. On top of this, here in All Saints, we also find ourselves having taken on new things and not stopped anything to release people to the new ventures. How do we move forward from this situation? Together is the simple answer.

By the time you read this I will have preached a sermon on this subject. It will be available in church, on tape or on our website (see below). On All Saints Eve, (31st October) we will have a shortened service at 10 am in the morning, followed by an open discussion. Please do come and join in. After that, the PCC will also be meeting to pull together these ideas. Please feel free to write or speak to them or me. The PCC members with their photos are now displayed in church.

Above all, please pray. We are not trying to see what we collectively think is a good idea, but to help each other to hear what God is saying to us as a church community. What would he have us doing in the future? Please do take part in all of these.

Every blessing in Jesus,

Simon’s sermon notes 17.10.10
The Future

Acts 15v1v1-21 (p1110) Mark 1v29-39 (p1003)

Acts 15v1: 1st recorded serious crisis in church of Jesus.
Up to then: Historic faith - Jews had to be circumcised. Jesus had been..
Many argued was the right way for Christians too. (what they argue in v5)

Paul wasn’t circumcising new converts, thought it unnecessary. Other Jewish Christians disagreed.

v 2 There was sharp dispute.

To resolve it - they go to General Synod. (Jerusalem church was this in their day) (v2-3)

Council agrees with Paul.
v 19-21 James (leader of the Apostles) does not let go easily.
Compromises on circumcision, but not on all the food laws.
(Which Jesus had done, Mk 7v19; whereas Jesus said nothing about circumcision)

Dispute of circumcision. not settled: Ac 16v3 Paul needs to have Timothy circumcised to be acceptable. It is still going on.

These sorts of battles happened throughout church history:
2 kinds of disputes, led by people of different natures:

Stick in muds: who want no change and leave the church irrelevant.
Radicals: who want an excessive amount of change beyond what Jesus is asking for

Paul was trying to hold middle ground and hear what Jesus is asking to change, and what he is not.

All Saints past history:

Geoffrey Parfrey - Peasants Revolt - (don’t recommend his methods - this was radical )
Samuel Crossman - 1660’s - Protestant, Bibical Christianity. ( a bit radical, but much better)

Other steps we have taken: Book of Common Prayer abandoned early;
embracing healing ministry (Trevor Dearing)
3 of the 4 trained Lay Evangelists in diocese are from All Saints.

Reasonable track record in All Saints of accepting change.

Problem: Can accept what is new - then entrench it. Not move on from it.
Has happened in many churches - incl. several listed in Revelation.
We don’t want to do that here!

Current situation in Cof E

diocese: will be a reduction number of clergy: deanery is to plan 8 to 7.
over-work and tiredness of both me and other church leaders & members
aging population and congregation
reduction in amount of “free time” working people have, therefore can give less to church
money - the world-wide crisis is affecting us too.
we have started new projects, nothing has stopped, so same resources have been stretched further.

We can’t continue just as we are. Change is needed.

Proposed way of dealing with it

In the summer, the PCC set up a Review team, whose job was to look at the situation and make recommendations. From this has come:
1. This sermon
2. On All Saints Day - after service there will be an open discussion about this
3. PCC & ministry team will also discuss it.

We need Hope

God is still sovereign.
He will prevail and his church will.
Doesn’t mean individual churches will all survive.
But his world-wide church will continue.

Mark 1: The reading shows how we can’t take Jesus for granted. Jesus was being successful in his ministry and people were flocking to him, many with significant needs. He walked away to other things.

We cannot just say God has seen us through for 850 yrs, so will in future.
(That was the error of people in Jeremiah’s time)
Jesus will if we are faithful to Him.
But that involves hearing his voice and obeying.
It involves looking outwards - not just looking after ourselves.

What do we do personally?

Be involved. Take part in the process. Pray!
Don’t fear - we are not in survival mode - we are looking to be in thrive mode.



Contact vicar:

Rev'd. Simon Gill Telephone: Sudbury 375334

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