What Church are we called to be? This was the central question at the PCC away day in January, part of the preparation process for the recruitment of a new vicar. There were no surprises, on the contrary, a great deal of agreement in the kind of church we envision: open, welcoming, inclusive, with good preaching and music, a community where people can feel connected, belong, grow in discipleship and wholeness, whilst also being outward-looking, honouring the uniqueness of Great St Mary's, as the university church and civic church, in the centre of Cambridge.
In this period of transition, post-pandemic, with the changes in the clergy and music team, we have an opportunity to be creative and pro-active about the ways we build up our community and enable all, who wish to, to get to know one another and become involved. One of the strengths of Church is that it brings together people of different ages, walks of life, diverse backgrounds and even nationalities in a unique way, centred on a God who loves us, longs for us to flourish and be fully alive. The church enables community and belonging in a world with increasing fragmentation, division and isolation. Therefore, here at Great St Mary’s, we want to think about ways to enable those, who wish to, to make connections, build relationships, take part and contribute. Some PCC members are giving this more thought, so expect to hear more about this in the coming weeks. If you have any ideas, suggestions, please speak to or email the clergy and church wardens. A good way to get to know others, feel more connected and make friends is to join one of the teams that enable our church life to function and flourish. The music department are looking for music stewards, who in the past have mostly been choir parents. These are paid positions, subject to the appropriate safeguarding checks. They are an important way of supporting the fantastic work our music department does with children and young people. We also need more volunteers to support our Sunday services – as sidespeople for the various services; to join the altar party – this is open to young people of secondary school age-; and also to lead intercessions at the 10am service. If you are wondering whether you could get involved in any of these teams, please, see the separate notice in this emag with information about who to talk to. There will be good training available for anyone who shows interest and wants to give it a try. As this eMag shows, there is a lot going on at Great St.Mary’s. We are very grateful for everyone who takes part and contributes. The season of Lent will be starting in three weeks’ time, a season that invites us to pay particular attention to our spiritual lives, which, of course, underpin all of our lives. At the start of Lent, we are offering a quiet day with Sr Gemma Simmons, CJ on Saturday, 25 February. Her Lent book ‘The way of Ignatius. A prayer journey through Lent’ is an excellent tool to learn more about prayer, how to be aware of deepest desires, the choices we make and how to integrate faith and life. Look out for details on home groups and Lent talks on Wednesday lunchtimes on ‘The Arts and Faith’, which will be sent out in a separate mailing. With my prayers and best wishes,