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As I write this we await an update on progress towards filling our vacancy. To help with trying to use themes developed by the URC the Worship Group will be meeting to see if we can improve the linking of services as different people lead them every week. In addition six of us will be attending the residential synod in Birmingham on 11 & 12 October. This enables churches to discuss and exchange ideas on a wider basis than the normal synod meetings with a variety of seminars on offer to assist.

We appreciate that pastoral care is not as obviously available as we would like but we do want the congregations to keep the Elders informed on health and welfare issues as we are concerned for those who are “under the weather” for whatever reason and we do wish to include everyone in our prayers. It is a matter of looking after one another, as Jesus would want, but it is also difficult when some become too embarrassed and reclusive when what we would like is to give everyone a chance to have someone to talk to from time to time.

While care and mission are concerns the plans to continue keeping the buildings safe are now being shaped by the results of our most recent quinquennial survey, an important part of the monitoring of buildings both listed and unlisted. St Andrew’s is in the process of getting a windows survey done, primarily of the sanctuary, quotes for spire repairs and finding a way of replacing our glass doors which are now near the end of their useful life. We have also had an energy efficiency survey completed and are awaiting the official report which will assist us in identifying ways of becoming a more eco-friendly church and should help in finding ways of reducing our fuel bills.

Buildings and their maintenance can be a struggle whether it is a church, a house or an apartment in a Grade 1 Listed building. We choose to have the buildings to help support our work of mission and outreach in an increasingly secular society in the UK. We pray for God’s assistance in finding ways of refining our mission and regenerating our enthusiasm so that we can remain a beacon of service in our respective communities.

David Black

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