I am truly grateful to those parishioners whose diligence in keeping our parish going often goes unnoticed. Without them we would be seriously struggling. I also want to express my appreciation to those who attended the six synodal meetings over November and December of last year and to Emma for chairing each meeting. The turnout was so very encouraging as were the numerous ideas and suggestions offered. Realising that we can’t do everything at once, what I hope will happen throughout this year is that at the very least, some of the proposals will start to take shape and bear fruit.
Whether you managed to attend the synodal meetings or not, all of you have a part to play. I realise that young parents had children to look after and others couldn’t attend due to age or health reasons. However, my hope is that as many of you as possible will live up to your name as a parishioner and immerse yourself in the life of this parish. Every one of you has a talent and a gift to offer for the benefit of others and for the glory of God. It may require courage but if you don’t step out in faith you won’t experience growth and others will not benefit from what you have to give. You have talents and you have time, even if it’s little, so why not use it for the Church community, your parish?
The vision of the clergy team, with the help of Pauline D’Souza, in 2019 was ‘Being formed in the likeness of Christ, we strive to become a truly Christ centred community through humble witness, love, compassion and communion’.
This is as relevant in 2023 as it was then. These are not just nice sounding words but words to be reflected upon and lived out in our daily lives. We are not just any community but one where Christ is at the centre, and if Christ is at the very heart of St Edmund’s, then every parishioner should seek to be Christ-like.
To be like Jesus Christ is to pray and encourage others to pray, to bring healing into the lives of broken individuals, to be welcoming, hospitable and generous, to be compassionate and forgiving to all, to be the justice and peace-makers in all situations. This applies to all of us: the young; the old, the active; the house-bound, those who serve refreshments in the hall; choir members, catechists; deacons, brass cleaners, altar servers and priests! Whoever you are and whatever you do, may the love of Christ fall from your lips, shine from your eyes and reign in your hearts.
On a more practical note, can I make an appeal? What is needed very soon, if not immediately, are volunteers. Not so long ago I remember making a couple of appeals from the pulpit for people to join the sacristy team but with minimal response. This experience has convinced me that the best method of recruitment is to approach people individually and from now on I will be doing just that. I hope this doesn’t cause parishioners to dive down alleyways, take cover behind trees or raise their newspapers as they see me approaching. It doesn’t have to be like that – an invitation should never be intimidating or coercive.
As I have said several times before, the more volunteers we have the less work there will be for each individual and the stronger the team becomes. It can also be very rewarding as you not only strike up friendships and acquire new skills but become more aware of how much work and versatility is required in running a parish. Please give some thought to how you will be able to help.