June’s Parish Council meeting focused on reviewing the progress and outcomes of the Strategic Plan we did in 2017. On the one hand strong steps have been taken towards a more vibrant Church, but on the other hand the review throws up how much remains undone in developing our ministry, communications and stewardship.
The Ministry sub-committee is given the task of enhancing the Church community’s understanding of faith. To this end the intention is to develop better understanding of faith though programmes such as the Lenten Study series. As well there is a determination to work towards greater ecumenical interaction. Members of Parish are meeting regularly with others across the Christian Churches in Mansfield. Joint activities have already occurred such as the World Day of Prayer service, which was very successful and drew a crowd of 70 from Churches in Mansfield and beyond. The service centred upon the people of Slovenia.
Another direction for Ministry is to develop the monthly Children’s Service held on the fourth Sunday of each month. The children who attend have found the service designed by Father Paul most enjoyable. All children are most welcome. Work is also being done to establish meditation as a regular Parish activity.
The aim of Community Interaction is to improve the way in which we welcome, include and engage both practicing Anglicans and the larger community in the life of the Church. Improvement in the way we function within the Church has been obvious. New parishioners and visitors have commented on how comfortable and welcome they have felt at Church. There has been a greater confidence on the part of parishioners in offering to take part in the liturgy as well.
Snippets was instituted as a means of improving communication between the Parish Council and the Anglican community and others who have shown an interest in the Church’s activities. As well greater effort has been made to use news outlets, especially The Courier and the local radio to promote upcoming events. These sources have been most co-operative. Mention must be made of Father Paul’s regular piece in The Courier which has drawn much discussion and comment which has been appreciated by him. A focus for the future is to interact more fully with groups in the community as we did when approached by Rural Australians for Refugees.
The Stewardship group has made significant steps towards improving the fabric of the Church. Problems have been identified and methods were taken to rectify these problems where money allowed. This included rewiring the church and heating system, which is much appreciated in winter. Vivienne Ritchie generously paid to have the heating put on a timer so that it comes on automatically at 7.30am before Sunday services.
At the moment Parish finances look much healthier than they have in the recent past. This is largely due to the locum priests working part-time; however finding sufficient finances is an ongoing problem. Any new ideas to address the problem would be welcomed by Jim Freemantle, chair of the Stewardship group. It has been pleasing to see that more people are using direct bank transfers for their weekly offering.
The suggestion was accepted that Chairs of each of the Strategic Planning groups refresh membership of the groups engaged originally in the planning. The Chairs will also meet between Parish Council meetings to help co-ordinate ideas.
Discussion about the general health of the Parish recognised the very generous help of our locum priests, especially Father Graeme Brennan and Father Paul Dalzell, Bishop John Parks and Arch Deacon Clarence Bester. It was felt that there is a positive attitude around the Church and a determination and confidence to look forward, even with the sad demise of the Ladies Guild. Much of the work done by the Guild has fallen to a few generous members of the Parish. Parish Council would love more people to come forward to help and offer new ideas about events and activities for the Parish. We are hoping to alter the look of the fete a little this year to add even more interest to what is a very successful event. The next event on the calendar is the card day at St. John’s Hall on 25th June at 10.30 with a plate lunch and door prizes. This event will be followed by the delicious casserole lunch on 19th July. Offers of help or food would be greatly appreciated. To offer help please contact Pat Webb, Parish Secretary (0432 411 205) or Gwen Gray (5775 2589). The Mission Lunch will be help in August. More details later.
Finally, members congratulated Graeme Jennion on being confirmed at St. John’s Church on 8th June at a very happy service.