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The Vicarage
19th May 2019
Dear Friends,
This morning we come to the end of our short series, looking at what it means to be Devoted to God, and Devoted to One Another. If you have missed any of the sermons, I would encourage you to catch up online – you can find the audio at https://stalkmundsduffield.co.uk/sermon/ (it usually updates on Tuesdays, so if one isn’t there, check back then). But after the sermon series finishes, we want to continue to think and act upon what this means for us as a church. And to do that, I want to revisit our MATURE statement, and just gather together a few of the things we have already talked about, by way of reminder:
Meeting God Daily – we want to be devoted to God, and so let’s strive to be reading our bibles and praying. If you want some material to help with this, do let me know. Attending Church weekly – let’s strive to meet to hear God’s word, to pray, to praise Him, and to encourage one another. Sundays give us the opportunity to be God’s people together in a very special and valuable way. Taking the small group challenge – if you want to join one, let me know.

Using God given gifts and resources – as we saw last week, we want to use our gifts to build up the body of Christ, the church. Do look at the ‘Opportunities to Serve’ section of the weekly news. And if nothing there look like something you want to do, or you have an idea, let me know. Reaching out in love – let’s think of how we can spend perhaps just a little more time with each other, to get to know one another, that we might reach out and help each other. Evangelistically active – more on that this morning!

After all, as we have been seeing:
We want to go deeper in our knowledge and love for Christ and His people
We want to go wider in reaching more people with the good news of Jesus
We want to go higher in pursuing Christ-like character together
Keep these things in mind, as we think together on what it means to be Devoted to God, and Devoted to One Another

Yours in Christ

The Vicarage
10th February 2019
Dear Friends,
I thought it would be beneficial this week to talk a little about some of the changes that will be happening as a result of the move to one vicar for the Benefice in Summer 2020, and how they will affect St Alkmund’s.
Later on this year we will be launching a New afternoon service at Little Eaton; longer term this will allow me to be at all three main services in the benefice every Sunday. This is an exciting opportunity to do something new, and to seek to reach a new group of people, in Little Eaton, but also more widely. I will be looking for a number of people who will be willing to support that service, through attending it alongside services here for a time, and also through getting involved in serving. If you are interested in doing that, please do speak to me.
There will also be changes to how we do other things. We need to think about how we organise a Joint Prayer Meeting, and how small groups are organised in the future across the benefice. Some of our other activities will become joint, and others will remain focussed on Little Eaton or on Duffield. These changes will begin to take place after this Easter. Look after for information I the coming weeks and months about that, and do involve yourself in the conversations that will be taking place about how best to do this.
We are also planning for a mini-mission across the benefice in September 2019, led by Davis Barnsley. This will be a great opportunity for us to invite friends to hear the good news of Jesus.
Finally, I am praying that we will be able to appoint an assistant minister in the autumn. Whilst his particular focus will depend on the gifts God has given him, we will be looking to spend the year of ‘overlap’ with him and Dave to prepare ourselves for the future.
Interesting times. But also a time of opportunity. Do continue to pray for both our churches as we all make adjustments.
Yours in Christ

James

The Vicarage
3rd February 2019
Dear Friends,Most of you will now have had the opportunity to read the letter I wrote last week about our financial situation here at St Alkmund’s and across the Benefice, and the challenges we face and decisions we have made about how we go forward as a church and as a united benefice. (if you haven’t pick yours up at the back or grab one of the envelopes marked ‘Budget 2019’) So do join us on Wednesday evening from 8-9pm as we pray through our present situation and our plans for the future.
If you are not able to join us (or even if you are), let me suggest some ways in which we can pray:
1. Give thanks for provision we have: we rejoice in what God has given us as a church, and we thank God for providing for us up to this point. Even as we seek a challenging financial goal, we have confidence in the God who has provided.
2. Rejoice in God’s plan for the future even if we’re not entirely certain what it is. This is what we mean by trusting God – we rejoice in what He has in store, even when we are unsure about what is around the corner. In fact, the more uncertain we are, or the more things apparently are going against God’s plan – the more we can trust God.
3. Pray for the provision that God promises. We saw last week that Jesus calls us to ask, and to seek, and to knock, and to receive what we need from God. So, let us come before our heavenly Father with confidence that He will bless us, by giving us what we need.
4. Pray particularly for Little Eaton for the changes that will be taking place. We had a good meeting with the whole church a couple of weeks ago, and we’re looking at how to move forward. Pray particularly against the rumours that we are planning to close the church (we’re not), or that Dave and I have fallen out (we haven’t!).
Finally, as I said last week, if you have any questions or concerns about the letter I wrote, do get back to me.
Yours in Christ,

James

Dear Friends,
A slightly strange letter this week, as it is a letter about a letter. Today is the
first week where we are looking at our finances for the year ahead, and so I
have written to everybody separately with details of our budget plans and
financial needs for 2019, and with information about a gift day we are
planning for early March.
I won’t repeat what I have written there here – so if you have not received a
budget letter and would like one, please pick up one of the spare packs at
the back of church. You will see that we have made some significant and
challenging decisions. With that in mind let me encourage you to join us on
Wednesday 6th February at 8pm for our prayer meeting, where we will be
praying about these decisions, and our finances.
We are encouraged to pray about every area of our Christian Life, and of
course our own personal finances; how much we give to the church, and
how we spend money as a church are all part of this. Jesus reminds us to
pray with confidence in the Lord for His provision, and to trust in God’s
promises, that He has a plan for His people, and that He will bring that plan
to pass. And so, with some challenging times ahead, we remind ourselves of
Jesus’ words to us:
Matthew 7:7
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock,
and it will be opened to you. 8
For everyone who asks receives, and the one
who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one
of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for
a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give
good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven
give good things to those who ask him!
Let us be those who treasure and act on this promise in the coming days and
weeks.
Yours in Christ

James