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Views from the Vicarage - October 2018

Dear Friends,

Recently in the press it was reported that the Church of England had declined in people saying they belong by 50% in the last fifteen years. It is very sad news but
probably realistic.

All churches have seen a decline over many years but this has accelerated recently. It is no good burying our heads in the sands. Apart from a few individual churches which have seen a growth, we have all experienced slow decline in church attendance and with it a decline in giving and income. A number of generous givers have gone. Our income is down and last year for the first time we were unable to pay the full Parish Share, our contribution to the Diocese to pay for clergy stipends and pensions. The Parish Share is based on the actual cost of ministry which at the moment is £55,000. Our Parish Share is now about £47,000 but will increase by about 3% a year till that figure is reached. One consequence of not paying the full Parish Share is that clergy deployment will be affected. Already in this Deanery we have seen the joining up of parishes and from five full time clergy only a few years ago we now have only two full time and three part time clergy which means fewer clergy led services and less ministry by the clergy.

Can I please encourage everyone to regularly attend Church. We don't want to see our numbers decline. I know that there are many other distractions these days especially with Sunday shopping, Sunday markets and sport. But it is all too easy to get out of the habit of going to church. Don't let it happen to you! It is one of the Ten Commandments to worship God on the Sabbath and it is important for our salvation. If you cannot make church on Sunday at either the 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Parish Eucharist or 6.30pm Evensong then you could come midweek Tuesday 7pm or Wednesday 10.30am (+ coffee). We also have Holy Communion 9.30am on Saints Days.

On another note we celebrate Harvest Festival on Sunday 7th October at the 10.15am Parish Eucharist. Gifts are welcome, the non perishables going to the Food Bank and the perishables and toiletries to Ellesmere House who always appreciate them. In the evening we have Laudes Choir singing Choral Evensong at 6.30pm. Please come and support this as we rarely have a full Choral Evensong. Our Harvest Supper at the Town Hall is on Friday 5th October 7.30pm tickets only available before hand from Ann Harris tel. 622163

The Confirmation Classes have just started and are going well, 11 .30am-12pm for young people in church and 7.30pm - 8.30pm at the Vicarage for adults. It is not too late for you to join. The Confirmation is by the Bishop of Lichfield on Sunday 25th November 6.30pm at S. Mary's.

My Prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar