July 2018

Sometimes you can smell change in the air. It seems to me that we are approaching a period of change at Holy Trinity. That might unnerve some of us—generally speaking, I’m not a fan myself, but the truth is all living things change. “To live is to change,” wrote Cardinal Newman, “and to be perfect is to have changed often.”
Perfection might be beyond us, but life is not. There are three areas of change in the air. Firstly, we are welcoming Nigel, whose pre-ordination training has come to an end, as our new Assistant Curate in July. Nigel’s ordination as a deacon is a clear sign of God’s grace and favour. We welcome this new phase of his ministry amongst us, and we must hold Nigel and Irene prayerfully in our hearts. This is a significant event in their lives, and one that will mean many changes.
Secondly, the Partnership for Missional Church (PMC) is shifting up a gear. We are beginning an interviewing and listening process which will attempt to help us understand exactly who we are and how we relate to the parish we serve. This is an essential part of us becoming a more missional church: less of the ‘Sunday morning club’ and more of a community that is trying to build the Kingdom of God. Look around the village. Do we see the people we don’t recognise? Do we understand the nature of the community in which we live? Or do we only see the people we want to see—the people who shop in the Co op at the same time of day as we do; the people we meet in the Post Office; the people who go to our lunch club.
And thirdly, the PCC and the Finance Committee are committing serious resources to a new role: that of Family Support Worker. This is a significant step change for us in the way we hope to engage with families. As you look around the church you can see the age profile, and you can, I hope, see that it is not the same as the age profile of the village. We need to be a church that is serious about engaging with families. The time when people would just roll up to church has passed. We need to change.
These three things have three things in common. Firstly, they are about mission. A new deacon is a powerful symbol of God’s desire to reach out to his people and draw them to himself. The Partnership for Missional Church is about changing our culture to look outward and not inwards, so that we see clearly that we are on a mission to bring God out of the church. The Family Support Worker role is about reaching out specifically to families, the largest group of people in Prestwood after the elderly.
Secondly, they are about the Kingdom of God. At Nigel’s ordination as deacon the Bishop says: Deacons are called to work with the Bishop and the priests with whom they serve as heralds of Christ’s kingdom… They are to work with their fellow members in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible. That is Nigel’s role now, one in which he makes the Kingdom of God real. How will you help him with that? The PMC process is about seeing God at work and joining in, making the Kingdom visible to us and the parish we serve. And our Family Support Worker, if we are successful at hiring one, will be a vital tool in allowing families in this village to say, “The Kingdom of God has come near us!”
Lastly, they are about prayer. None of these things will be successful without prayer—your prayer. Please pray for Nigel and Irene. Please pray for the PMC process and all those involved with it. Please pray for our new Family Support Worker role, that we will get the job description right and that God will send us the right person at the right time.
Whatever else might change, our desire to pray and our faith in God should remain.

Holy Trinity, Prestwood is an Inclusive Church. We are part of the Church of England.
We are in the Oxford diocese and the Wendover Deanery.

The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Holy Trinity, Prestwood is a registered charity, no. 1129233.

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