2012 – May
After all the excitement of Easter comes the opportunity to take stock of the previous year at our Annual Parochial Church Meeting – the ecclesiastical equivalent of an AGM (29th April at 10:45am in St Helen’s). The reading set for the Sunday in question is from Chapter four of the Acts of the Apostles. Jesus is, “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12).
As Christians, Jesus (who is still rejected by so many) is the cornerstone and reference point for everything we do. Throughout 2011 the Ministry Team and PCC have continued to place Jesus at the heart of all we do as a church. Why? As verse 12 explains – “there is no other name… by which we may be saved”. Put simply – without Jesus we are lost!
This principle lies behind the banner headline for our work on the Vision for our church; namely “Living and Working for the Glory of God in Wheathampstead and beyond.” We want to become a church where each of us dedicates every area of our life and work to bring Glory to God.
Much encouraging progress was made in many areas in 2011 – not least by the Vision Group establishing our four strategic priorities for the coming years. We have increased opportunities for prayer, and held training sessions in this area; we’ve increased our financial giving; increased numbers attending mid-week bible study groups and courses; increased the work and profile of our Youth Group; increased our sense of community through Coffee in the Chancel; increased the number of trained Pastoral Visitors and increased the numbers attending worship on Sundays. We praise God for the fruit we are seeing in these areas of church life and pray for His continued blessing.
It has not all been plain sailing; far from it! For the second year running we have recorded a deficit – albeit reduced from last year. There is an urgent need for more leaders and helpers in our Junior Church and Youth Group – in both cases to meet the increased demands because of growing numbers. We would love to expand the opportunities to worship with more contemporary music – but are hampered by lack of musicians – especially keyboard players. And this has been another frustrating year for the team working on our planned extension and internal redevelopment of St Helen’s Church.
Despite these challenges, we rejoice in God’s faithfulness to us. If you have not yet picked up a copy, our full annual report is available in church or from our website: www.sth-stp.org
I pray that you will join us in our vision as we seek to glorify God in all we do. So, let us all renew our efforts in prayer, giving thanks to God for the way He sustains us in all we do and seeking His continued blessings upon our church and people of Wheathampstead.