Report given to the Church AGM

As part of what I want to say tonight, I want to reflect o­n the year that has gone by. It has been a particularly busy year at St Saviour?s. The numbers of people coming to services was up o­n last year?s figures. Now, there are always particular factors which can affect numbers ? the arrival of a pipe band in the summer or a special event featuring Richard Holloway can appear to obscure the reality. However, even taking those things into account, the reality is very promising. Some of you have commented to me recently that numbers seem to be growing o­n a Sunday morning ? well, I?ve done the sums today ? numbers really are up.

Comparing this year's figures with last year, there is a rise of about 10 more people a week worshipping in our church o­n a Sunday. (Using the median as an average, thus avoiding abnormally high congregations when the pipe band was here in the summer).

Counting the people o­n Sundays is o­ne way of measuring how the congregation is doing, but there are others.

Let us just think back o­n the year that has passed. It included the following events:

  • The Labyrinth at the University ? a spiritual tool of prayer that members of the congregation went up to and joined in with students and staff at the University.Discussion evening: Human Sexuality & Marriage Liturgy ? we had a discussion evening last December o­n this topic.
  • Living:Breathing:Praying ? School of prayer ? this was our Lent Course this year. It was o­ne of the most successful course that I have ever known in church. (I?ve been to some pretty boring courses in my time). It was so successful that I am minded to run it again in the new year.
  • World Day of Prayer ? this came to St Saviour?s this year.
  • Young Church Discussion Group ? a new venture to allow discussion o­n a Sunday morningAsh Wednesday & Holy Week Services ? were the busiest ever in this church in all its 149 years. We are doing particularly well at coming to these things.
  • African Night ? with Janette Allan
  • Salsa Evening ? where we twirled and whirled about
  • Farewell Eucharist for Bishop Michael Henley in St Ninian?s Cathedral, Perth
  • Richard Holloway came and preached and drew a crowd from all over Scotland
  • Pipe Band ? Our friends from the St Thomas Episcopal School Pipe Band turned up and swept the board at many of the piping competitions in the summer. Let me tell you, the arrival of 50 teenagers unexpectedly at the 8 am service is the second finest moment in all of the Christian Liturgy. (The first is when they come back again the next week).
  • Vienna Horns Concert and Festival ? this marked the start of our anniversary year and was tremendously successful. It is also a reminder of the tremendous leaps forward that we have made musically this year. The choir (and the congregation) is in good voice and the congregation is in good heart as we look ahead into the next hundred years.

And soon we will have a new bishop. The list of names o­n the short list is as follows: Graham Forbes, Kevin Pearson, David Chillingworth and Brian Russell. From these names, a new bishop should be chosen o­n 13 December 2004.

That is a flavour of the year. It has indeed been a busy o­ne. It has been jam packed for me too. In addition to my work here in St Saviour?s, I also serve the church by being a member of the Information and Communications Board. There are radical changes coming to the Episcopalian paper (it is turning into a new magazine) and I have been very involved in that decision. You all know of my commitment and the local community. Speaking personally, this year, the most nerve-wracking time I spent was giving evidence at the Park of Keir Public Inquiry. I try to go the community council meetings here in the village whenever I can. You will all be aware of my commitment to politics. That has not gone away. There is an election just around the corner, and I don?t think that you will be surprised to hear that I will be getting stuck into campaigning for that very soon.I have to say that when I think back over the varied places that I have worked in the church. Both as a lay person, as someone in training and then as an ordained person, there has been no-where that I have enjoyed as much as I am enjoying St Saviour?s here in Bridge of Allan.Tonight I want to acknowledge the tremendous support that this church gets from so many people through the year.Can I close, as I usually do, by asking you to stand with me.And to give thanks to God for this church and its witness?.And especially to spend a moment of thanksgiving for all those who make this community all that it is.And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you this night and every night. Amen

Speak Your Mind