Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Roll renewal time

I stood in for Fr Roy for the 'class Mass' at St German's this morning. The thirty children and teachers trekked bravely to church through sleet, and were so well behaved in chilly conditions. I had fun reading the story of David and Goliath, with the children doing 'giant' sound effects. Sophie, their teacher played piano so we did some singing as well. A real pleasure. Despite the weather St John's had a decent number for the midday Eucharist also.

Afterwards, I paid a visit to the city centre management office to find out if anything of interest happened while I was on leave. It looks as if work on renewing the churchyard path up to the south porch can now happen fairly soon. Matt, the city's project engineer is on the case, and organising the contractors for us.

In the mail today, a reminder from the diocese that this year the church electoral roll has to be renewed from scratch, as opposed to updated. It's one of those occasionally necessary high maintenance jobs, requiring a fair amount of chasing and checking. This is a task I'll have to oversee, as I probably have the broadest grasp of who's who, new and old, on the existing roll. Some people who've been on the roll many times over the years, may well think membership is automatic, or even believe they've already filled in a form especially if they've subscribed recently. It shows positively that a sense of belonging doesn't depend on filling in pieces of paper - a practice the modern world is particularly fond of.

The membership situation at St John's is made more complex by the considerable number of people who worship with us but belong to and support a home parish elsewhere, or who happily attend on Sundays, but don't want to be involved in any other aspect of church life. Yet, if asked, they would say they belong to St John's. Participation comes in all shapes and sizes, and this has to be recognised and respected.

With this electoral roll renewal, members are also asked to fill in a 'skills audit' form. The idea is to obtain a comprehensive picture of the gifts and abilities church members have, and which they might be encouraged to share, both in their own communities and further afield. It's a reasonable and well intended stewardship initiative. I hope it will be perceived in the spirit in which it was intended.

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