The Parish of Sandal Magna

Introduction to the Annual Report 2016 
by Rupert Martin


New beginnings with CAP

The year began with the launch of two new initiatives as part of Christians against Poverty. A Job Club was started in Portobello headed up by Sarah Cutts, and a Release group began in St Helen’s led by Sally Martin. So often debt is accompanied by lack of employment or addictive life-styles, so both these new ministries seek to address these areas of need, alongside the existing debt relief work, and money management courses. This vital CAP work grounds us in the reality of everyday life and spreads the message of hope throughout the Wakefield District, with the help of local churches and many faithful pray-ers and befrienders.

New Work in the Churchyard

Throughout the year the Churchyard was given a real makeover. The wrought iron railings were repainted. Two large blocks of Kilkenny limestone were installed at the entrance to the Tree of Life to provide a beautiful entrance and somewhere to place flowers. The tree is a peaceful space, and 16 leaves were laid down last year. 
Recently more of the crosses which were vandalised 30 years ago have been restored. 
Above all with an influx of new helpers, the churchyard team has done a wonderful job of mowing the grass, pruning, clearing and looking after the churchyard. Many thanks to all concerned.

Parish Office, the Side-room at St Pauls' and the Bell tower

The Parish Office was decorated over Easter, and the room at the side of St Pauls' was re-roofed, sealed and redecorated so that it can become more useful in the future. We continue to attend to other maintenance, lighting, and heating issues, with the help of Craig Orr. We are also doing a lot of work to secure and upgrade our Church bells, under the guidance of Roger Townend.

Worship, Prayer and Discipleship

We are blessed to have such gifted worship leaders, who have helped to create some beautiful experiences of God on our regular Sundays and on Festival occasions. We are still in need of someone to play the piano at St Paul’s twice a month.
Our sermons this year included some thematic and topical series, on Climate change, God in the Workplace, and Christian engagement with contemporary issues, such as gender equality, social media, faith and science. We also studied the Book of Hebrews, the life of Elijah and the people who surrounded Jesus at his crucifixion.
Our prayer life extended this year to a ten day Prayer Walking of the Parish from Ascension Day to the Day of Pentecost. Over 80 people of all ages were involved and covered almost every street in the parish. We plan to go prayer walking again this year.
Much good prayerful, pastoral and study work goes on in our House
Groups and other fellowship and discipleship groups such as the Mothers’ Union, the Women’s Fellowship and the Oasis Wednesday group. We are also blessed to have such active ministries to young and old alike through the dedication of all who serve in Oasis ministry to seniors and our Shyp ministry to young people both of which continue to flourish.
God is good and blesses prayer and spirit-filled service, so let’s keep on praying and meeting together on weekdays as well as on Sundays. And let’s encourage those in their jobs to see the workplace as a worship-place.

Difficult Times

It hasn’t been an easy year for some members of our church family through illness and bereavement, and our hearts go our to any who have lost loved ones or had to cope with serious illness. Be assured that you continue to be in our hearts and prayers.

Gratitude

On a personal note, Sally and I were truly blessed to be able to hold the Wedding of Sam and Megan in St Helen’s and in a Marquee in our garden. We are so grateful for the support and the many contributions of our church family which enabled this to be such a happy occasion.
We were also blessed to be able to provide a home for the Samuels family who had left Pakistan owing to persecution. The news we received in February that they had been granted leave to remain was a cause of great celebration and gratitude to God for answered prayer. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for them and continue to support them in any way as they plan a new life in this country.

Looking ahead

There is much to look forward to in 2017, not least the 20th anniversary of The Spring, which we will celebrate on the 9th September, and the 5th Anniversary of our Christians against Poverty ministries, which we will celebrate on 17th September. May we continue to serve our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully and well in whatever way we are able and called to, with the gifts we have been given, and above all with the love which God pours into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Roman's 15:13

Rupert




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© Sandal Magna PCC 2016.
Registered Charity Number 1131795.
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