APCM Chairman`s remarks

APCM Chairman’s Remarks 2013
I give you a new commandment that you love one another … By this
everyone will know that you are my disciples.
That verse from St. John reminds us why we here, as Christ’s
disciples we seek to love one another and to share that love with
those we come into contact with in our daily lives.
In this we are not always helped by our Church at a national level, at
least by how it is reported in the press. The failure to deal in a mature
way with issues of gender and sexuality hardly furthers our aim to be
seen as a loving, caring body – an inclusive Church.
That said the Church of England manifests itself at the local level,
through parish churches and communities. Here things are a little
more encouraging despite the difficulties of living in a secular age
with so many conflicting demands on people.
At St. Matthew’s we are experiencing gentle growth, drawing
younger people into our life. That our E.R. has increased from 84 to
99 is a crude measure of this. Our worship is now more fluid and
flexible than in the past. The good ecumenical links we enjoy with
Bushey and Oxhey Methodist Church have enabled us to develop
‘Messy Church’ as a fresh expression of the Christian Church.
Through our hall and the occasion offices of Baptisms, Marriages and
Funerals we are able to develop links with the wider district
(Transforming Communities in Living God’s Love). We can
overestimate our significance – the Church is more marginal than it
once was – but we can underestimate too. Naming all the connections
we have, coupled with the spiritual significance of our worship,
reveals our nature as leaven in the lump.
There is naturally much room for improvement too. I’d like to
suggest three areas.
1. One is giving. You’ll see later from our a/c’s that our loss last
year was about £15,000-00. We survive because of our capital
reserve, that this year have been topped up by the rise in share
prices. Clearly this situation is not sustainable in the long term
and as part of our Mission Action Plan the PCC will be
addressing stewardship with a view to increasing giving and
identifying projects to spend capital on to further our growth.
2. The second is expressing our belonging to the body of Christ.
I recall reading a novel about a group of travelling medieval
players. They would arrive in a new place, setting up and
performing their play before moving on again, all with a sense
of drive and purpose. That gives us a good image of the liturgy,
of worship, as something we all do together, with each playing
their full part according to their gifts. All too often the church
can seem divided between a passive audience and a smaller
group of actors plus facilitators.
3. The third is to do with learning and education. As well as failing
to deal successfully with gender and sexuality the Church also
struggles to speak of God in a meaningful way at the start of the
C21st, leaving religious and atheist fundamentalists to do battle
in an increasingly polarized and sterile debate. To quote Tony
Blair, it’s all about education, education, education! Under the
banner of Equipping God’s People, the Diocese gathers together
courses for all sorts and conditions, so there is something for
These three areas can help us think about the future with plenty of
new challenges to engage us.
I’d like to close with a note of gratitude and thanksgiving to everyone
for their continuing support and hard work over the last year and to
wish God’s blessing on our future endeavours. Amen.