I hope you managed to enjoy some time of rest and relaxation throughout the summer months. As a family, we were privileged to enjoy a two week break in the Vendee (France), it was a fantastic time away and once again I was reminded of the importance of spending quality time with the family.

It’s often difficult to get back into the normality of work mode once we return from holiday and if your anything like me, we keep looking back at the photographs, keep talking about what we would have been doing had we still been away, keep wishing we were still there! There’s nothing wrong with looking back, as I’ve said before, it’s the experiences that we have that make us the people we are. However, if we stayed in that place of looking back, stayed in the past, that wouldn’t be healthy.

The past is gone and one thing is certain, time doesn’t stop – we can’t go back! We can only move forward. Looking to the future is often filled with mixed emotions, fear of the unknown against the excitement about what’s around the corner. As a church we are in that place currently. St. Anne’s has a great and glorious past. Over the years St. Anne’s has many things to thank God for. I love listening to stories that parishioners share with me about various ‘adventures’ the church has had. These are special moments that the church family have enjoyed together and they have helped to shape the church and given it its identity today.

One thing is certain, our predecessors and the generations that have gone before us, had to make important decisions and important changes to the church, decisions which at the time were ‘huge’ and brought lots of questions and fears. But they were brave enough to make those changes so St. Anne’s was able to carry on ministering to the current/future generations. And because of their courage we are the current generation that has to consider our role and the future life of St. Anne’s so that it can continue to minister for generations to come.

As we embark on a new term, we will be studying the book of Nehemiah. In 445BC Nehemiah is charged with the difficult task of rebuilding the city walls. Within a few weeks, the walls around Jerusalem were built and standing tall and their enemies had lost all confidence. Over the next few weeks, we will learn how Nehemiah leads and directs the project; each family built the section of the wall directly in front of their houses, and with hard work, the wall was astonishingly completed within 52 days. This method allowed the remnant to feel an identity and uniqueness in their part of repairing the walls of Jerusalem. “So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God” (6:15-16).

As we embark on a new and exciting chapter in the life of St. Anne’s, we all have a part to play in the ‘building’ of our church. Each of us should feel the importance of ensuring that for future generations to come, we have played our part in ensuring St. Anne’s can flourish, with a thriving congregation and a building that is fit of ministry in the 21st century. As a PCC for over 12 months we have been investigating how we can improve the facilities within the church building so that we can ensure that we have building which can serve the community for years to come. In the next 12 months, as a church family, we will have some big decisions to make, but we will do so seeking God’s will and looking forward with an excitement about what the future holds, so that like in Nehemiah’s time, people will be able to see that all things will be accomplished with the help of God.

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