As we move into the Summer holidays, can I tell you about a fair number of exciting developments afoot for St Mary's?
Firstly, we are moving full steam ahead with developing our buildings; we’re in the process of selling Defoe Hall and that is likely to all be complete by the Autumn. Sadly that means Hackney Foodbank’s Distribution Centre which we presently house, is needing to find alternative accommodation as are the other community church groups who presently use the building. As I’m sure you are aware we are looking to use the proceeds from that sale to re-build the rooms adjacent to the New Church as these spaces are no longer adequate for the church nor for the many community groups that use them. The ‘Blue-Sky’ Group, set up to work on this project, has had many fruitful and inspiring discussions with the Project Manager and we are now at the point where the PCC can appoint an architect. Alongside that we’ve just heard that we were successful in our bid for money from the ‘Listed Places of Worship’ Fund and have been awarded £92K to do some of the much needed work on the Old Church.
Of course there’s still much to do (not least the roof of the New Church) and all will take time, money, effort, goodwill, and faith! But when completed we hope that St Mary's with its two beautiful church buildings and redesigned flexible meeting spaces, will be better able to serve the needs of the parish and work more creatively with our partner organisations.
Other changes are less about buildings, more about people. We announced at both our main services yesterday that Matt, Sarah and Bekky will be leaving us as Matt has been appointed Team Vicar at St Nick’s in the Poplar Team Ministry. Of course, we knew Matt would be offered a post at some point soon as he’s in his final year of training and the good news is that the family won’t be moving on until mid February.
Roxane Liddell - a regular worshipper at our 9.30 service and a member of our PCC - will be leaving us in September to begin training for ordained ministry. Roxane and Kaleb, her son, will be moving to Cambridge where Roxane will be taking up a place at Westcott Theological College to begin her two year ministerial course. We wish her and Kaleb every blessing.
And finally, lots of people are asking me what I’m going to be doing on my sabbatical! In September it’s my intention to walk the ancient pilgrimage route across northern Spain, to Santiago de Compostela. Following that, I intend to do some study in the area of ‘Authentic Leadership’. Then in November I will be returning to the Theological college I studied at many years ago in South India before taking the train right to the north of the country, finishing in Varanasi, the sacred Hindu city. All being well, I’ll be back at St Mary’s on November 28th in time to celebrate Advent with you.
Wishing you a lovely Summer and if you’re around don’t forget the Garden Party on the Rectory lawn on August 21st!