A doting father asked his young daughter well in advance by pptfiles

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									SPECIAL SUNDAYS IN JANUARY January 17th will be, as previously advertised, our second Day of Prayer and Fasting. Once again, there will be prayer corners in both St. Mary’s and the Church Hall, though this time we are planning to leave a larger block of chairs in the church. Again, if you can sit on the floor, please bring a cushion, but, if you need a chair, many more will be available. There will also be times of both led corporate intercession and contemplative prayer during the day – please watch for more details in coming weeks. Given the Bustins planned farewell (see below) on January 10th, this day will not now be our Vision Day. This day of vision and thanksgiving will now be on January 24th, which will also give us more time to prepare thoroughly for this day. It will be a time to give thanks for all that’s good, and to discuss what we’re planning in 2010. STAFFING NOTES THE BUSTINS Tim and Kaye Bustin’s visas for New Zealand finally came through on Christmas Eve – a brilliant Christmas present for them as a family, though it meant a Christmas season dominated by planning for their move to the other side of the world some time in January. As the plan is for Tim to start work perhaps as early as Sunday January 25th, and certainly for Ella to start school early in February, their move away will now happen very soon. I’m never quite sure in these circumstances whether it’s easier to leave or to stay: both are hard, but in very different ways.

I know that Tim’s engaging, warm manner will be missed by very many of us, along with a sly sense of humour and his real interest in people. This is not to mention his significant ministry gifts, particularly as a worship leader, an evangelist and a caring pastor. I believe he’s grown very significantly during his time with us, however short that has been, and, though it’s hard, we need to release him to God’s wider call. Please continue to pray for Tim and Kaye, Ella and Zacc as they make this exciting but challenging adjustment to life and ministry in New Zealand. We will be saying goodbye to Tim and Kaye on Sunday January 10th, and this will include a Bring and Share lunch on that day, probably at 1pm (though please contact the office for details). Sorry that we haven’t been able to give more details, but Tim and Kaye had no timetable as to when the visa was likely to come through. THE KERRS Many of you have been asking what the outcome has been of the interviews for two ministry leaders for our youth and children’s ministry. There has been no news up to this point because we have been negotiating with our preferred candidates, and there has been nothing definitive to report. At the moment, all I can tell you is that we have made a job offer to Pat and Jenni Kerr, a young couple who are currently living in Limerick. We felt as an appointment panel that they both showed experience, gifts, passion and potential for their specific area of ministry. Pat has been offered the role of Youth Ministry Leader, and Jenni as Children’s Worker, with a

view to her becoming Children’s Ministry Leader over a two-year period. I’m pleased to say that Pat and Jenni have accepted these job offers, after a period of wrestling about leaving family behind in Eire, where they currently live. This outcome is not yet absolutely certain as the job offers have been made pending references and CRB clearances, which are currently in process. However, I believe we can hope to have the Kerrs in place and working by the end of February, which I think is a very positive outcome indeed. Please pray for Pat and Jenni as they prepare to move to Bletchley in the New Year. CATHERINE & IAN BUTT Catherine and Ian are pleased to let the whole church know that they are expecting their third child in the middle of June. For those of you want to do the maths, that means that Catherine is about 17 weeks pregnant on January 10th. Catherine is likely to start her maternity leave in the middle of May, though, of course, that could change. Ian wishes to make it absolutely clear that these births are not being timed to coincide with major football tournaments, though he is expecting paternity leave in the middle of the World Cup (again!). Not sure what that means for 2014 … Please be praying for Catherine and Ian, Esther and Naomi, as they prepare for their new arrival in the Summer. In passing, apart from being really, really unwell over Christmas, that’s why Catherine had to be particularly careful with the combination of swine flu and sinusitis that she had. Please be praying for good health throughout the rest of her pregnancy.

WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE STAFFING? Although we haven’t heard finally back from the Diocese about a replacement for Tim, it’s unlikely to happen this Summer. Given this, and given Catherine’s impending maternity leave, I’ve approached a number of retired clergy with the hope of securing from them regular monthly commitments. My hope is to get to a situation where two 8am Communions and two Wednesday Communions are covered every month, with my covering the rest. A dominant theme of January will be pursuing these commitments, and seeking to ensure that we can cover the more than thirty weddings we already have booked for 2010. In addition, the Area Dean has offered three dates to cover weddings already. We will probably not be able to cover all parish funerals, though we will do as many as is practicable. We will, as always, prioritise church family occasional offices. The new Pastoral Team will need to become the first point of contact for all pastoral issues. Please don’t see this as a lack of care from myself, but rather as my attempt to ensure that pastoral care does not deteriorate seriously due to ministerial overload. Part of my response will, I think, have to mean being much stricter about ensuring that I have a complete day off every week. Apart from being a Sabbath, I think it will simply be necessary. I can’t deny that 2010 looks rather challenging. Please pray that we will know God’s purpose more clearly and His blessing more fully as we face the challenges ahead.

It remains only for me to wish the Bustins ‘Bon Voyage’, the Kerrs ‘Welcome’, and everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.

Every Blessing,


								
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