I’m happy to communicate with you about some decisions made by the Session on behalf of improving our pastoral care of members and adherents in 2016.
The first decision is to adopt a strategy of small groups for mutual care. We realise this will not suit everyone, but think it can work for many of us. The small groups will meet preferably weekly, but otherwise fornightly, depending on what people are able to do.
The basic agenda of the group will be fellowship, Bible reading and reflection, and prayer. We are recommending that the groups follow the main Sunday preaching text with the help of a set of questions to stimulate reflection and application of the texts. A set of such questions have already been written for the Sermon on the Mount, and further questions will follow the text of future sermons. Prayer takes place in the small group, either all together or by pairs or triplets.
We will not be assigning everyone to a group, but will encourage people to join a group if they are able. If you are interested in joining a group, please speak to an elder or the minister about your interest. We can help you find a group.
The second decision we adopted is to appoint some people, firstly the minister, elders, and church staff, to visit members of the congregation. The purpose of the visit is to be friendly, to express care, and to have a short Bible reading and prayer. Our hope is that every member or adherent who wishes such a visit can have it once, or maybe even twice a year, especially in the case of ill health or tragic circumstances. Of course, if someone does not wish a visit, that will be respected.
A third decision was to begin a process that will result in identifying faithful, capable people to be elders, including men or women in their twenties or thirties, as well as older people. We will have a sermon series in February to get us thinking about the qualifications of an elder.
A fourth decision was to ask the present Youth Director, Chris Gillan, to continue two days per week of paid service as Youth Director in 2016 while he undertakes a university degree.
I am excited about these decisions. I believe they will strengthen our faith, hope, and love as a community and as individuals. There are details to be settled, but I am glad for the direction set.