New Year has some perennial themes: resolutions to change our habits, determination to get fit and lose weight, and a desire to start afresh after what’s often been a long and challenging year. It’s so tempting to make New Year’s Resolutions. I know myself well enough now that that there’s pretty much no point in me attempting to make them. I know I shall be on a hiding to nothing! As the proverb says, ‘the road to hell is laid with good intentions’, and so often I find I can’t follow my intentions through with action!
Just because it can be tricky to change our habits or ideas, it doesn’t mean one should simply ignore the opportunities presented by a new year. This year presents many. One thing you will notice this year, is that the PCC has agreed to try something fresh with the magazine.
Rather than having twelve issues this year, we shall have six ‘double’ issues. The aim is to both improve the quality and content of the magazine, as well as address the growing printing costs of twelve issues. This bi-monthly magazine will – we hope – be larger and reflect a wider range of voices and content. Going bi-monthly will also give us greater time to collect content.
On behalf of the PCC, I should like to thank Giles, our editor, who is staying on. However, a group of us will aim to support him by working hard to collect content for inclusion in the magazine. If you have ideas for a feature, please don’t hesitate to approach me or the Church Wardens. Furthermore, for those of you who are wondering, the Diocesan Magazine, Crux, will still be available year round and your subscription includes it.
This year will also see movement on our plans for the next stage of building development. I hope we can firm up the next steps – in terms of repair work, as well as developing the lobby area and choir vestry – very soon. As ever, the work will be dependent on raising money. I genuinely hope that the vast burden of this won’t fall on the congregation. We are well placed to draw money from national grant-making bodies. However, as ever, we shall also need to find some match funding. I am open to some creative ways of raising funds, so don’t hesitate to speak to me about any ideas you may have. I have one or two thoughts myself, but I shall keep my powder dry for the moment!
The crucial thing, always, is to place all we do in the context of serving God. Our magazine, for example, is a key way we share information and ideas within the community, but its role is part of a wider commitment to service and mission. St Nick’s remains a wonderful place full of amazing people, but we do not exist to be an inward-looking club. We are God’s people called to serve a world in need with love and grace. That’s also why having our building in high repair matters; not so that it looks pretty (though that is lovely!), but so we can be a place where God is available for all in our parish.
As we enter a new year I sense, as ever, exciting and interesting times. We would be foolish as a community to be complacent or over-confident. The nature of church life is that it has vulnerability and precariousness built into it. Why? Because, Church is not a building, but a community, and communities comprise real flesh-and-blood, vulnerable human beings. However, this is also our strength and hope. I never cease to be moved by the fact that God emptied himself into frail flesh, in Jesus Christ. The promise of salvation, redemption and new life is found in a human being who is also God. Our precariousness is also our openness to new possibilities and change. Growth can happen, in numbers and faith.
These, then, are challenging times because there are so many uncertainties in religious and political and economic life. Who knows what this year may bring. Yet, that is also exciting. For God is faithful and generous and delights in us when we seek to be faithful and gracious in return. Let us, then, approach this new year in trust. God is good and gracious. In times of trial and times of abundance he shall be with us.