None of this could have happened without meticulous planning from our Steering Group led by Mark Neller. As a church fellowship, we owe a huge debt of gratitude for the many hours of preparation that went into the weekend and I want to give my personal thanks to the Steering Group for an excellent job superbly carried out.
But where do we go from here? - we don’t want all that we have learned at the weekend to be a flash in the pan. The weekend has highlighted some of the strengths and weaknesses of All Saints and in the coming months I want us to build on our strengths and shore up areas of weakness. Ian Coffey has given us some very clear indications of what we need to work on to become a missional church and we must not lose the impetus he has given us. Over the coming months, the PCC will be addressing these issues by discussing the book The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne and the Ashburnham Steering Group will be debriefing with me on ways to move forward. Already plans are in train for a follow up weekend in 2013.
One story that Ian Coffey told has stuck in my mind – about the rather tatty diner near to a church where the minister went to meet a member of the congregation. The diner was not in good shape, but the minister was amazed as the owners brought out some extra cakes for the customers without charging. On subsequent occasions the same thing happened. Asked why they did this, their reply was ‘Because we want to show magnanimity’. This is a great picture of what I want All Saints to be – a church which draws people because of its acts of gratuitous generosity within the community. God make us such a church.