Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Highlights from 2015

One of the helpful disciplines I have adopted is to give thanks to God for some highlights from the ministry year at East Taieri Church.  I find it encouraging to list the highlights and at the risk of being unintelligible to those outside of the church I post them below:

Some Highlights from 2015 – East Taieri Church
·         Our theme for the year was Streams in the Desert.  I was delighted that over 300 study guides were printed and five new small groups formed for this series.  
·         We said farewell to our Parish Manager Ed Ablett-Hampson when he moved to Wellington.  Leeanne McKinlay has stepped up to the full-time Parish Manager role and Jo Thorn to the 15 hrs/wk Admin Officer role, while Louise Jamieson in her 15 hrs/wk Finance officer role faithfully keeps our finances secure while helping answer our many financial questions.  They are all thriving in those roles.
·         We transitioned to a church council leadership structure with a new property and finance committee, freeing the R4M members for practical tasks.  Many projects have been completed, including replacing the church data projectors; installing the heat pump underfloor hot water system (making our facilities cozy in winter); a new sound desk for the church; a short throw projector for Oak, renting the Fairfield Manse and exploring subdividing this from the church title…
·         We have a new sound desk at East Taieri, produced an operating manual and held two training sessions.
·         120 people attended our South Island Ministry Conference with Digby and Jane Wilkinson.  We received some of the most positive feedback ever.
·         The flooding of the Hub was a major challenge.  A lot of hard work (and insurance money) has seen this restored to an excellent state.
·         New Vision 2015 was our vision clarifying process for both church and community.  Many people were involved with this, participating in prayer forums, commenting on wording and experiencing the vision through “chilli challenges”.
·         We launched our new vision wording and our new website at the well-attended Annual Meeting in October. 
We will be a thriving church, responding to God’s grace and passionately living out our faith, wherever we live, work and play.
Together we will work alongside others to develop thriving communities, where people feel connected, known, loved and valued.
·         Alpha continued to gain momentum.  We held the Alpha dinner at Aurora café.  Five people making commitments to Christ.  One couple who attended our World Vision Event were invited to Alpha and came.
·         Rodger Larsen-Hewitt has grown into his role as a youth worker, among other things, launching Challenge (a new programme for Year 9 students).  We celebrated his Praxis graduation.  Carolyn Drinkwater has thrived in her Taieri chaplaincy and led one of the most moving Camp Sundays ever.  This December we said farewell to Outram Oasis. The Maungatua parish have provided volunteers and resouced Oasis for nearly 15 years, but some key volunteers were stepping back and felt it was time for it to go into recess for now.  We hope to continue with chaplaincy at Outram School. 
·         Jeremy Selfe led us through the first year of EPIC (our new Sunday evening youth discipleship focus).  This has been a great success.  We are serious developing intergenerational discipleship, and want to see more young people experiencing this, and this discipleship culture spreading throughout East Taieri Church.
·         A new youth ministry intern has been appointed for 2016 – Nathanael Stock.
·         John Cleland has stepped onto church council as an associate elder, exploring becoming an elder.
·         The role of the Pastoral Care Team is getting established and some pastoral care guidelines were published. Seb Murrihy, Pam Grant, Joy Davis, Pam Crosbie and Lorraine Christian form the leadership team and work with a large number of visitors and pastoral folks. 
·         We have had a large number of newcomers, keeping Pam Grant and her welcoming team busy.
·         Turning Point Christian Counselling celebrated their 10 year anniversary.
·         A questionnaire was developed for Sugar & Spice parents, giving us some insights into what would be helpful for them in 2016, working toward a fresh expression.
·         We ran another Business Breakfast at Aurora Café beginning a new series of outreach breakfasts and building our partnership with Aurora Café.
·         Joy Davis completed the work on the pilot combined referral process for health and social services in Mosgiel. 
·         Under Joy’s leadership as pastor of the 2pm congregation, several of their services are gifted to reaching a wider group of people.
·         The monthly Taieri church leaders’ prayer meeting is going well, finishing the year with a pot luck tea at Macaulay’s.  We re-established a combined Good Friday service.  TCMA has settled into its new role meeting twice a year.
·         We ran the Marriage Course at Mosgiel Presbyterian, and combined some 2pm services with them, building our cooperation with Mosgiel.
·         Heather Moore has been appointed as our new children and families worker for fresh expressions.  This half-time role is not responsible for Sunday children’s ministries, but is outward looking.  It is focused on developing relationships with children and families who don’t come to church.  Heather will start on 1st Feb, 2016.
·         John Whelan has begun work as our Funding Manager.  This has great potential for growing our funding base as well as freeing up Jeremy, Joy, Leeanne and my time in raising funds to resource Youth East Taieri and Community East Taieri.
·         Global missions featured strongly with the GM team raising funds for printing children’s ministry literature for Malawi (Youngs); Erica, Carl, Heidi, Rene and Andre Aarsen and Rodger Larsen-Hewitt all going on mission trips; the Fleck’s profiling Radical Grace; and the formation of the Vanuatu Youth Mission team for 2016.
·         The Mission Facilities Group has renewed its work under Elaine Scurr’s leadership and is serious about making progress with new facilities that will serve our mission.
·         Seb, Leeanne and Jo launched the new “Wired2Serve” course giving us an ET way of identifying people’s gifts and helping them find the place of service God has for them.
·         The senior pastor’s prayer breakfast continues strongly with 12-14 people attending.
·         We have run creative Power Station prayer forums, though attendance has still been fairly low.
·         Jeremy and Seb preached on Christmas Eve, leaving Martin to preach on Christmas Day and at the RSA Christmas lunch.  Interestingly more people than ever before put their names on the Christmas Eve clipboards, including 7 people to clean toilets!
·         We already have a strong team in place for Stations of the Cross for Easter 2016.
·         There are many more highlights including: Baptisms, lots of testimonies, the One Service and celebrating volunteers, SHFT lunch and AGM, and the many visits, services, conversations that make up the ministry moments of 2015.

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