Letter From Kevin Keefe – Churchwarden of Otley Parish Church
When our Parochial Church Council put together the Parish Profile, following the extensive survey early in the process of seeking a new Vicar, the final section asked us ‘what are the top three challenges with which you and the new priest need to engage?’ The analysis gave the answer to that question as:
● Outreach and mission to the local community
● Discipleship and teaching for all
● Better provision for children and young people
Regarding discipleship and teaching Aaron has, in recent weeks, introduced us to Practising the Way and, as we move through Lent towards Easter, hopefully most of us are following the series of studies that Aaron has recommended. It looks closely at how we practice Sabbath – and it links with the Sunday sermons which are following the same pattern. As Aaron has put it ‘We are embarking on an experiment in practising the way of Jesus in our everyday lives, based on the conviction that if we want the life of Jesus we must adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.’
A significant amount of work has been done by Aaron, Zoe Smith and Katie Mayers who have produced a proposal for ‘Developing Youth and Children’s Ministry at OPC’. By the time
There are many and varied facets to the life and ministry of Otley Parish Church – financial, technical, prayer, cleaning, hospitality, moving furniture and numerous others. All these things take time and input from people, and many have put in so much over the years. Covid disruption and the vacancy period were times of consolidation and keeping things going but now we need to move forward again. -5-
you read this letter the PCC will have focussed a major discussion around this work, and we’ll be hearing more about it as things progress. (Care of our adults and each other remains crucial.)
Outreach and mission to the local community are a work in progress and, as with intentional personal growth in our walk with Jesus, every one of us is involved. Various thoughts and ideas have been suggested for how to build on things that are already happening, and we each need to reflect on our personal situations and listen to God and discern how to use the giftings that He’s given to each of us.
It’s only a few weeks until the Annual Church Meeting where, as a church, we look back at the last year and also look forward to the next year and how we might develop our vision and mission. There are many and varied facets to the life and ministry of Otley Parish Church – financial, technical, prayer, cleaning, hospitality, moving furniture and numerous others. All these things take time and input from people, and many have put in so much over the years. Covid disruption and the vacancy period were times of consolidation and keeping things going but now we need to move forward again.
Where is God is calling you to use your gifts and talents in the life of the church? Leading services, being involved in children’s work, music, social media development, digital presentation of services, various aspects of events and hospitality – many tasks ‘up front’ or behind the scenes, big or small, physical or more sedentary?
April 23rd sees the Annual Church Meeting and time once again to elect churchwardens, members of PCC and people to represent OPC on Deanery Synod – and we’ll need to find a new PCC Secretary as Rosemary is standing down. These are all vital areas of church life where decisions are taken regarding our ministry and mission, and we need people to prayerfully consider becoming involved in all these roles too.
2023 will see a big change as Barry stands down after being a churchwarden for 27 years. As a church we must give a massive vote of thanks to him for all the work he has put in over the years. It’s still his intention to continue with his many non-churchwarden areas but I really don’t want to be left as the only churchwarden next year! Neither do we want to continue with vacancies on the PCC. Over these next few weeks do please take time to consider and pray about these roles and the others I’ve mentioned.
Romans 12:4-6 ‘Each of us has one body with many parts. And the parts do not all have the same purpose. So also, we are many persons. But in Christ we are one body. And each part of the body belongs to all the other parts. We all have gifts.’
Please speak to me, Barry or Aaron if you feel drawn to become involved in any area of our church life.