Churchwardens’ Spring Ponderings
Christmas has come and gone and there were many opportunities to get together and celebrate. There were two concerts organized by the Friends of the Parish Church when we enjoyed the sparkle of Vocalise and Eclipse. The Mersea Island Choir enhanced the service of nine lessons and carols with varied choral pieces and meditations. Christmas Eve saw the church packed to capacity for two services when Pianissimo led the singing, which was enthusiastic and inspiring.
Midnight Mass is a tradition for many people and saw the beginning of Christmas day when, after the morning service, Heather King and a team of helpers served up a wonderful Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings and entertainment, to those who would otherwise have been on their own.
Many people have been suffering with a variety of colds, coughs and flu in the past few weeks. There have been many funerals and much prayer is needed for both those whose health is challenging and those who are lonely and missing loved ones. For many a visit would be a blessing.
There is a dedicated mobile phone number for use when calling the church’s Pastoral Team, should you wish for, or know of anybody who might benefit from, a visit: 07593-429114.
A group meets to pray in the church every Monday morning from 9.30 – 10.00am. Everyone is welcome to join us.
The stone in the arch above the painting of St Christopher was repaired, making the space in that part of the church available again. Other problems have been solved. We are now working together to launch a programme of events of interest to us all, to raise funds for a new audio/visual system, to enhance our building, so that it can become a venue that can be used by both the church and the community. Watch out for details.
Churchwarden's Christmas Musings 2017
There are so many things being prepared right now – in time (we hope) for the forthcoming Advent season. Many volunteers working very hard for you!
The Lay Weeders have been hard at work in the churchyard, up the tower and on the roofs (cleaning gutters & struggling to re-fasten a heavy flagpole). West Mersea Town Council have also done their usual superb job of helping tidy the churchyard trees, shrubs, grass and bushes, which is apreciated.
The PCC’s fundraising team have been coming up with lots of really exciting and interesting ideas for next year’s efforts to improve church finances.
The Fabric Team have been busy considering how best to keep up with the current list of running repairs required to keep our treasured, but ancient building in good shape. The church hall exterior woodwork has been re-painted and some new wood cut in, where needed. However, even so soon after the recent Quinquennial, we have continued to find considerable evidence of the centuries of wear and tear on the exterior stonework.
Some smaller stone repair jobs can and will be treated and repaired in the next few weeks. These, and the purchase of our new loudspeaker system and electronic piano, are only possible thanks to generous donations from within our own congregation, or from the ever-welcome help we are so grateful to receive from the Friends of West Mersea Parish Church (FWMPC).
However, we have now been given a (free!) set of superb, close-up photos of the tower stonework, following a fascinating two hours’ photographic survey of the tower. This work was carried out for us by Jason George, of 360 Skymedia Drones. Jason is the son of our very own Brian. It is very important to know these photos have revealed significant issues that need attending to, with some fairly substantial, and expensive, repair work in the next few years.
The choir, the musicians, singers, Pianissimo and PP+, together with our lovely Music Co-Ordinator have been hard at their practise, making best use of our new, electronic, Roland piano, loudspeaker and microphone system.
Watch this space for a wonderful, musical, fundraising idea in the new year.
Your Churchwardens have even got the Hearing Loop system up and running again, with a little bit of help from those who know electronics better, of course! This made quite a difference to our recent Civic and Remembrance Services. Our very own Rector Sam was truly on fire with the spoken word, as was our Freshly ordained Deacon Terry Walker, with their sermons at both the above two events, as well as at the funeral for Doreen Fox. Several complimentary comments were received after all three services.
Thank you all so much – it is appreciated – we feel our church is really responding and growing in faith and commitment to our guiding principles!
Churchwardens’ Easter Musings
Time flies, so they say, and Easter is almost upon us already.
By the time you get to read this article we will be close to starting preparations for the redecoration of our lovely church. Please note we are looking for as much help as we can get, from 10am onwards, Easter Monday.
This really will be a case of ‘many hands make light work’ of it!We are praying for a surfeit of helpers on Monday…..
So, after Easter, do not be surprised when you find the church full of scaffolding. Future services will be held in the Church Hall, until completion.
There will be no possibility of safe access to the hall through the church itself during the redecoration works. So, please, come and join us in worship via the side path to the rear entrance of the hall. Meanwhile, Junior Church will be looking for a temporary new home – perhaps in the garden - if some kind person has a large tent suitable for fine weather outdoor services?
It is so easy to overlook all the myriad small tasks that make our worship services happen and help our church run on an even keel. There is always something to be done, always someone to help, in our busy church family.
The other day we decided to ask some regular congregation members, who had not previously taken on any ‘formal’ duties, to help with a couple of minor tasks in the service. At first they were concerned they had never really seen and taken on board what was actually involved in the ‘doing’. However, we were told afterwards it seemed surprisingly easy, once they got down to it.
The initial shock of having ‘to get things right’ was a bit of a jolt to their usual comfort on a Sunday morning, but do not let that put you off. A smile and a prayer will see you through and make you wonder what all the fuss was.
Now we have a growing need to ‘jolt’ some more of you. Several volunteers are needed, to fill the numerous small gaps that exist. Short rota teams place a more onerous workload on those already committed to helping out a few hours a month. Most of the tasks are not usually too demanding, once undertaken and learnt. But they all do help.
During this next year we are praying for new people to fill important Leadership roles, amongst others:
- A Churchwarden
- A Gift Aid Treasurer
- A Hall Manager
- Service Wardens
It would also be a wonderful blessing to be able to strengthen existing rosters for all those teams that carry out regular chores of cleaning, maintenance and repair of the infrastructure. Not to mention help for those tasks occasionally requiring back-up, to cover for absences due to holiday and/or sickness.
These are the ‘hidden’ jobs of your church. They all ‘just happen’ at present, thanks to existing stalwart team members. These jobs do NOT go unnoticed, but do, nonetheless, also take up much-valued volunteer time.
In your prayers, is there any spare time in your own life, where YOU could volunteer to lend a hand and add your own, individual, God-given talents, to help ease the burden on others and assist the smooth running of our church?
Now - off to assist our valiant “Tower Captain” in his Saturday mission to switch the church clock to “Summertime” and to ensure his very welcome, new, volunteer ‘trainees’ get to see how it is done for the future………
Churchwardens’ January 2017 Round Up
It is a real leap of faith to take the plunge and put oneself forward for the post of Churchwarden. Trusting totally in the church family to help one out with support, by volunteering help, one swiftly finds a new life takes over. It is truly amazing just how wide and varied both the number of tasks and duties are, but equally amazing are the number and willingness of one’s friends to jump in and offer to help out. The job of Churchwarden would be impossible without lots of assistance from all the congregation volunteers. Those who act as Service Wardens, Altar Servers, Bell-ringers, Readers, Intercessors; Linen Launderer; Hall Manager; Churchyard Gardeners; Prayer Organisers; Home Communion visitors; Treasurer and money counters; Gift Aid Managers; Coffee & Kitchen Duty stalwarts; etc. You know who you are, but we salute you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
The best thing about our situation is that we two Churchwardens are so different, the one from the other. We have different experiences of both church and community. It is invaluable to be able to use our varied, God-given gifts to cover all the tasks as best suits our abilities. Between us we hope we know who everybody is; Val is truly prayer-led in every aspect of life, as well as holding a wealth of knowledge of how services and liturgy run, whilst Alan is more able to cope with the modern world of electronics and fixing ‘stuff’. Working together with smiles and prayers makes the job so much easier and more enjoyable.
Meeting with the Rector to acclaim the successes, such as that of a wonderful set of Christmas services, is just the icing on the cake. More unusual tasks include helping a clock mender fix a disconnected clock face bevel gear up in the tower; arranging yet another early morning attempt at fixing recalcitrant LED spotlights and dimmers; helping a local boatbuilder fit a broken office door; discussing how to deal with a burglary; remembering to change the colour of the altar cloths on the right date and for the correct service; checking for bat roosts in the roof voids; crawling around upside down under the pews to fix missing support knees – is there no end to the variety of unexpected duties falling into the lap of a Churchwarden? It is, after all, so satisfying to see the church clock telling the correct time, and hearing the bell toll the correct number of chimes, on time, too. The whole village soon tells you if it’s wrong.
This is to let you all know we are now actively putting out feelers and saying our prayers for more, younger volunteers to come forward. We would greatly appreciate help to fill gaps in the existing rosters, and take on some of the tasks that have appeared, through retirement, old age and illness. It all makes for lighter work for those already enlisted. There are growing shortages, or a risky dependency on just one long-term supporter, in several areas of church work, but particularly with Intercessors, Altar Servers and Service Wardens. It would be so very helpful and an immense relief to many, if we could find just a few more volunteers to shoulder some duties.
new Hall Manager needs to be found, to relieve the current one to concentrate on his new Warden duties! It is not onerous, but does require a commitment to help lock/unlock the Hall for visitors on maybe two or three times a year. We are sure our wonderful Tower Captain would welcome some company to help make his adjustments at the Summer Time changes. He could soon teach a keen, mechanically-minded person, one who is good at DIY, the intricacies of a fabulous piece of Victorian engineering, or indeed the unusual art of campanology.
Finally, of course, we are soon going to be on the lookout for a successor to the extraordinary force that is Val Bocking, when she retires from the post of Churchwarden.