Thursday, 23 June 2022

Dear Friends

Next week, in the Church of England calendar, we remember St.Peter, the one on whom Jesus chose to build His church. And because of that association, we also at this time of year ordain people, stipendiary and non-stipendiary, as both deacons and priests. The ordination of priests took place last weekend, and this weekend on Sunday we have the ordination of deacons. According to the Church of England ordination service: ‘Deacons are ordained so that the people of God may be better equipped to make Christ known. Theirs is a life of visible self-giving. Christ is the pattern of their calling and their commission; as he washed the feet of his disciples, so they must wash the feet of others’. The role of the deacon is therefore primarily about serving others, just as deacons in the New Testament were called to serve others too. As the saying goes, ‘once a deacon always a deacon’ and that is why at the start of Holy Week, we have a service in the cathedral at which deacons, priest and bishops renew their commitment to ministry, including the service of others in the church.

Why do I mention all of the above? It is because this Sunday, Rebecca Lloyd is being ordained deacon in Liverpool Cathedral. Rebecca will serve her curacy at St.James’ church in our team (where she has been a member for a number of years) but she will also gain experience across the team, as appropriate to her training needs. It is therefore likely that she will spend some of her time at St.Mary’s as well, albeit as a non-stipendiary minister (since Rebecca has a full time job), that time will be quite limited. Some of you may recall that Rebecca preached at our Team Boxing day service at St.Mary’s this past year. Do give her a warm welcome when she comes to St.Mary’s and above all do pray for her too, and for her family which includes her husband Dan, and their two children, Theo and Jonathan. Theo has had more surgery this past week and remains in hospital, so do pray especially for him as well.

This past week, Joan Rotheram, Sharon Leung and myself attended the leading Your Church Into Growth Conference at Swanwick in Derbyshire. It was a busy but very useful three days as we thought about the topic of church growth together with others from our deanery, diocese and the wider church. We will now be part of a deanery learning community for the next two years which will help us to pass on the learning to the PCC, so that the PCC can think of how we put that into practice. But as I mentioned last week, we can all play a role in helping St.Mary’s church to grow, so do keep an ear and eye out for ways that you can be involved in that too. One thing that I hope you may be already doing is to pray for 5 other people who do not yet know Jesus to come to know him, as I encouraged us to do during ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative at the end of last month. If you would like a prayer card, there are some available at the back of church.

I do hope that you have a good weekend.

With my best wishes and prayers

Jeremy Tear, Pioneer Team Vicar

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