The beginning of a new year often causes us to reflect on the past 12 months and then to wonder what God has in store for us over the next year. Looking back, I can see God’s hand in what we have thought about, prayed over and done together as a worshipping community. We gathered together in January 2017 to look at the results of our third and final questionnaire. Happily, people felt we had continued to improve, and during our day away together we found some key points to focus on in 2017: music in worship services; resistance to change; quality inconsistency in preaching; communication; coordination and teamwork. We have worked on all of these areas and will continue to do so into 2018; there is always room for improvement!
Focusing on key issues allows us to not be too distracted by the many tasks and demands that are a natural part of parish life wherever we find ourselves. We are not a large core of people to carry out ministry in its many forms, so it is important not to get overstretched but instead to be strengthened and continue to move forward with God as our guide. Three are studying a New Testament module with St John’s Nottingham, tutored by another member of the team. Another has been on a day course in London on communications.
At Church Council we are looking at our finances in 2018 and aiming to build up a 6-month running costs reserve and also to see when we can afford to fund a part-time person to work with our 18-30 year olds. Ministry is always both maintenance and mission and we are trying to respond to the way we feel God is calling us to be here in Lille.
In 2018 we will be working with the Eglise Protestante Unie in Lille on projects to bring the Reuilly Agreement to the forefront in both churches. Both churches have 18-30 year old people and after I met with their pastor, we decided that at Christ Church in February we will start a monthly drop-in to offer welcome and hospitality (aka food and free wi-fi!); at the EPU they will have a quarterly bring-and-share meal with Biblical reflections. We are also planning a joint meeting of our church councils: it will be very interesting to hear what they talk about in their meetings!