The Parish of Sandal Magna

The church as a garden


At the Annual Meeting I spoke about a vision of our church as a garden, with our many groups, missional communities and ministries being like lots of flowers and shrubs springing up to be both beautiful and fruitful.

Like any garden it won’t always look neat and tidy, but the colour and variety is what matters most. Sometimes there will be need for some pruning for greater growth.
This was the picture Jesus used in John’s Gospel:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Above all we need to remain in Christ if we are to bear fruit as his disciples.

Part of this garden is like a herbaceous border with groups that meet regularly, who are are going to look at some of the Biblical Images which we are focussing on in the sermon series. The garden also has some larger shrubs which turn our eyes outwards to the needs of others. These are The Spring, Christians against Poverty, Oasis for Seniors, Shyp for young people, Boogie Woogie Tots and Refresh for Parents and children, and Portobello Community Forum, recently given a Duke of York award for their community work.

Underpinning all this organic growth is the structure of the Church with our PCC, Finance and Administration, our Worship and Churchyard teams, along with those who keep the churches looking beautiful. All of this is focussed through the lens of Jesus, rooted in Prayer and Pastoral Care, and energised by Worship in our four congregations. We are grateful to all those who serve faithfully in all these vital areas of church life.

Particular mention this year was given to:
Allan Crossman, for his work with the Churchyard team and on cleaning the Path.
Margaret Walker for her Pastoral Care & leading of the Wednesday Oasis group
Craig and Karen Binns for their leading of Fusion for those with Autism and Aspergers.
Margaret Wilson for her cheerful and hard work at The Spring as Shop Manager.
Laura Truter for her work with children. 
Gillian Heap for her leading of the Women’s Fellowship, her intercessions and her work with the Churchyard team.

These few represent the hard work of many who serve our Lord Jesus faithfully in a variety of ways, reflecting the beauty of his light, and bearing fruit in the lives of many people young and old. May we all continue to enjoy being part of God’s Kingdom, engaging with our community with the message of renewed life in Christ Jesus, having a desire to pray and serve, and keep growing as disciples to continue the mission of Jesus, that with him the lost are found, the found grow and the lonely are enfolded.

Rupert




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