January Congregational Letter

Posted by Richard Jones on 13/01/2013 09:00

Dear friends

As the new year starts, I write to update you on some exciting new initiatives for our Deanery as well as on some St John’s news.

Deanery Youth and Young Adults Minister

You may remember that last year, on Vision Sunday and at the APCM, I said that the Deanery was hoping to appoint a Youth and Young Adults Minister to develop the ministry with this age group across Ormskirk Deanery. Nationally, the church has a ‘gap’ in this age group (18-25) so this focus is much needed.

I’m delighted to inform you that an appointment was made towards the end of last year and that Ben Dyer will start in this role later this month. This lay post is funded by the Diocese for 5 years. Based out of St. John’s under my supervision and with support from the Diocese, Ben will work from St. John’s and look to progressively develop ministry to this age group across our Deanery. Ben and his wife Beth have just moved to Burscough from York. You will meet them soon and thank you for giving them a warm welcome.

Deanery Debt Advice Ministry

We’re all aware of financial pressures. As a church, recognising that there was more that we could potentially offer beyond our CAP courses, we began to explore this area eighteen months ago.

An idea was presented to churches in the Deanery and consultation evenings held. This led to the establishment of a working group of volunteers (including Eileen Heaney and Jo Jones from St John’s) who have spent almost a year researching and preparing to launch a Debt Advice centre. The ‘West Lancashire Debt Advice’ service will be launched next month in the Boiler Room in Burscough Street, Ormskirk. This will be a free debt advice service run by trained volunteers, all from local churches. The service will operate under the supervision of Community Money Advice, a national Christian charity which has recently won awards for its work.

It is very encouraging that the funding for start up and running costs has been provided by a number of churches (including St. John’s), individuals and a grant from a Christian charity. The leader of West Lancs District Council and Rosie Cooper MP are also very interested and supportive. This much needed service in our area will be a very practical way that the churches can help our communities. Please remember the volunteers in your prayers and look out for further details soon. If you are interested in finding out more, please speak to Eileen or Jo.

Food Bank

Thank you for your continuing support for this important ministry. Before Christmas, a small team from St. John’s delivered our contributions to the Food Bank based out of Oaks in Skelmersdale and helped to deliver parcels. I’m given to understand that 120 families were blessed by the combined Food Banks operating in Skelmersdale.

Donations of food can be given to the green box that is in the West End by the bookshelves.

Church finances

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of you who give financially to St John’s. Your giving enables our ministry and also supports ministry across the Diocese through the parish share system. On Vision Sunday last year, you may recall that I invited everyone to review their giving and I am most grateful to all who have done so. I look forward to giving you further details of our current financial position soon, once the end of year accounts have been finalised.

‘Engage’ prayer meeting

The staff and leadership team are currently reviewing how we pray together as a church, in particular the Engage prayer meeting which takes place on the fourth Monday evening each month. Whilst this review takes place, the Engage meeting will be suspended. However please remember that there are two opportunities each week to come together for prayer, at 7pm on Monday evenings and 7-7.30am on Thursday mornings, both in church. Further details about how we can develop our prayer life as a church will follow in due course.

As we begin 2013, may I thank you for your continued partnership in ministry as well as for your support and prayers. We have much to look forward to but I am also conscious that we have begun the year with sad losses amongst our church family. Being a loving and caring community, that is transformed for Christ, is so important and I pray that this year we will continue to learn and grow together in our deepening walk with Him.

In His Love


Rev. Richard Jones, Vicar


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