Minister's Report

Minister’s Report/ General Report on the Life of the Church

 

In my report last year, I gave a fairly detailed account of SAPLC’s response to the challenges of the pandemic, and mentioned many of the people who had played key roles in this. I don’t wish to repeat the points I made this time, but would comment that everything I wrote last year continues to be applicable in many ways.

 

The main development since then has been our return to worshipping regularly in church, on both Sundays and Wednesdays, together with seasonal occasions such as All Souls, Taizé Prayer during Advent and Lent, and the wonderful open-air Christingle. It has been heartening to have sizeable congregations on Sundays, and we have been delighted to welcome several new members of our fellowship during this time. Following the considerable appreciation that had been expressed for SAPLC’s online worship since the beginning of the pandemic, we decided to live-stream our Sunday services once we were back in church. This has enabled quite a number of people to join in worship who would not otherwise have been able to, as well as continuing to extend our geographical reach. Leading and facilitating hybrid worship in this way is inevitably very complex, especially when Covid precautions still need to be taken into consideration, and I’m grateful to everyone who has played a part in enabling this to happen. We are aided in the live-streaming by having a substantial amount of new equipment.

 

I wrote last year about the ways in which we had strongly maintained the regular life of the church, whether our worship and fellowship, our church business, our commitment to environmental and inter-faith matters, or our support for charitable organisations and causes. All of this can be reiterated this year, and it’s good to be able to add to the list our strong connections with the local community, especially through the use of our premises. In particular, we were able to host a number of in-person concerts and other events in the Nether Edge Festival, which had a full programme after the limitations of 2020, and Ray Kohn’s annual St Andrew’s Music Festival was also able to go ahead with a full list of concerts.

 

Alongside this, we have continued to be conscious of and grateful for our wider relationships as a community of faith. We were delighted to welcome once again members of the Nether Edge Quaker Meeting to a SAPLC service in November. Our close links with Southcroft MHA continue to be important to us. With the gradual relaxing of Covid restrictions, we have been able to return to a fuller involvement with Clifford All Saints School. We value as ever our belonging to our wider denominational bodies - Mission Partnership, Deanery and Diocese; Circuit and District - and our friendships with other faith communities in Sheffield.

 

As I write this, I’m coming toward the end of a three-month sabbatical. As always, I know that the various areas of church life will have been in very capable hands, and I’m very grateful to those who have provided particular cover during this time, and those who have found themselves with added responsibilities. I shall return from sabbatical on the day of the Annual Church Meeting. In the longer term, as people will be aware, my appointment will come to an end in August. The excellent and welcome news, as reported in November, is that Revd Naomi Cooke has been appointed to be minister of SAPLC, Highfield Trinity Methodist Church and Walkley Ebenezer Methodist Church from September.

 

Revd Gareth Jones


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