Revd Jane writes: When I was exploring the possibility of coming to the benefice, the Bishop and your parish representatives made it very clear to me that, should I be appointed, one of my earliest priorities should be to have a good look at the current pattern and styles of Sunday worship. And ever since last November, when my appointment as your incumbent was confirmed, I’ve been taking that priority very much to heart – praying, watching, listening and learning. Since my licensing in May, I’ve been getting to know my two parishes, our worshipping communities and what makes Shedfield and Wickham uniquely themselves. And I hope you feel that you’re getting to know me!
Very gradually, I’m beginning to discern how the ministry team and I might best enable our two church families to speak of God’s presence in our lives and to worship together in different kinds of ways. Next Sunday, 17th September, I’ll be using the ‘sermon slot’ at Shedfield’s morning services to share some of my thoughts about worship – what it says about us as a church community, what we’d like it to say, and how we say it. I’ll be using this morning’s sermons in Wickham in the same kind of way.
Of course, coming to church on Sunday is only one part of what it means to be a Christian disciple, but it’s an important part and we must get it as right as we can. And trying to get it right will take time, courage, possibly some changes – and definitely lots of conversation with each other!
So next Sunday I’ll be explaining what will be happening as we take our first steps on a journey together, taking everything that’s good from our past and shaping it for the present and the future. Rather than having the usual ‘consultation day’, during October and along with the churchwardens and ministry team colleagues I’ll be inviting you to come along and let us know your thoughts, feelings and opinions at one of a number of small get-togethers for cake and conversation. A variety of times and venues will be available for each parish, and the Shedfield sign-up sheets will be at the back of church from next week until the end of September. Alternatively, those of you who would prefer to email your thoughts and ideas to me will be very welcome to do so (email@example.com).
Some questions to think about during the week ahead, ready for next Sunday! What do you value most in worship? What have been some of your most positive experiences of worship? And what do you find least helpful?