Pastoral Letter (May 2018)

from Claire Knight

Dear Friends,

At the end of March, Catherine, Jason and I attended a CTW (Churches Together in Wokingham) awayday at St. Crispin's shiny new sixth form block.

The day was attended by ministers, lay workers and volunteers from across the borough from all sorts of denominations.

The away day was led by the brilliant 'Mosaic Creative' a small, local training consultancy, working mainly in the field of community development, both in the UK and overseas, specialising in the use of drama, cartoons and illustrations to enhance learning and development. 'Bill' our facilitator is a member of the congregation at Wokingham Baptist Church, so had a great insight into just how much we all do as a Church Community and just how far we've come in making a difference to the people of our town.

The first activity we undertook was to work in groups to consider and list all of our achievements. There were some amazing reminders such as the street pastors started by JAC (Just Around the Corner), the Foodbank, Mind the Gap in Schools, Cake Bombing in the new developments, housing and support for Syrian refugees as well as many, many other initiatives.

During the day we all had an opportunity to share some of the work we are doing within our individual Churches as well as some of the obstacles that we may face. These sessions were at times very challenging but on reflection showed me how the gifts and skills of each Church work in harmony together to achieve the common goal of reaching out to those most in need and bringing all people to know God. The way we do so is quite different to each church but together we can achieve so much by engaging as a community.

We are blessed at Wokingham Methodist Church to be at the very heart of our town and our central position is as you all know set to increase by the end of this year with the opening of the development right outside our doors. We must ensure that following our 'Day of Engagement' in March we listen to what God is calling us to do to discern our role as a church. It is clear that the needs of the town are continually evolving as the infrastructure changes.

At the moment there is concern for the young people of the town and one of the key outcomes of the day was to reintroduce street pastors as there is a clear youth presence once again on our streets and an awareness of the risks associated with this. Some of this work will involve highlighting to the young people places to go such as 'Feast' and other mid-week clubs around the town.

This will accompany a team who are planning to prayer walk the streets regularly, a significant piece of work which will undoubtedly impact on our town.

Another idea which I am taking forward is the idea of an ecumenical event in Peach Place, this will be an opportunity for the Churches to show the community the things that we do outside of our individual buildings. The day should be a fun and exciting opportunity for us to spend time with those who rarely visit our Churches. The event is unlikely to take place until next year but I hope it will be a great opportunity for us all.

These are exciting times for our town and we are truly blessed to be in this fantastic location that God has placed us in. Our future will include some hard work and lots of prayer but I truly believe that God has big things in store for us. Words that Bishop Stephen Cottrell told me about my ministry before he moved to Chelmsford Diocese in 2010, one year before I came here!

Claire Knight


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