Dear Friends,

I trust you have a had a refreshing and spiritually uplifting time over Christmas, whatever your personal circumstances.  May I take this opportunity once more to thank all of you who have worked so hard in your neighbourhood/community/region, as well as in church circles, to meet these difficult times with love, care and generosity in the last months.

In January our PCC is looking forward yet again.  As a church family, we last renewed our church’s vision in January 2017.  So we will be working with Chris Priddy from the diocese of Bristol, to set out the means for us to renew our church’s vision again in the coming months during 2021.

In the meantime, Chris Priddy has referred us to something that is relevant to the vision of the whole church nationally and diocese by diocese, and all levels, including at parish level. It’s called Transforming Church

Bishop Viv wrote on 4th November: “it is clear that we must make time to reach towards the future God in Christ desires for us all. We are now beginning a process to seek together what Christ is calling us to be and to do in the coming years. In January we will begin a conversation to help shape a new vision, listening to and talking with lots of different people, both within the church and outside – with communities, congregations, clergy, lay ministers and church leaders. There will be opportunities for everyone to get involved. Good conversations need great listening, and I am committed to listening to voices that I don’t often hear and opinions that challenge me and the status quo.

This work begins in a complex world that is experiencing seismic changes. Covid-19, Brexit, racism, growing inequalities, climate crisis, ongoing digital revolution, approaching recession and debates over human identity are disrupting and changing society and communities. At the same time, we know that numbers of regular worshipers are declining and the role of the Church of England in wider society is contested more now than it has been in recent history. The process of shaping our vision and priorities for the coming years will allow us to celebrate the best of what is, imagine what could be and co-create what should be in all the surrounding complexity.”  (see https://www.bristol.anglican.org/news/transforming-church-a-message-from-the-bishop-of-bristol.php for the whole text or video)

In wishing you a Happy and Blessed 2021, may I share with you my own approach to the future.  This is ‘to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness’ (Matthew 6: 33). Maybe the course Christianity Explored (running from Jan 25 by Zoom) could be a way forward if you have not yet placed your life in the hands of the living God.  See www.christianityexplored.org and/or phone or email Kath expressing your interest  gotquestions@hotlytrinitystapleton.org.uk

Rev Charles.