From the Rector

November 23rd 2020

 

Dear Friends

 

I hope this letter finds you all well and safe.

 

This Sunday I am launching the ‘Rectors Advent Appeal’ which I hope you will feel moved to support. In 2020 despite the Pandemic our Benefice has continued to function well and I know so many of you have been really appreciative of the efforts of our ‘Ministry Team’ and many others in providing both high quality pastoral care and worship during this time of crisis.

 

The support to our local schools has been second to none and is cutting edge, being used by the Diocese of Bristol as an example of how parishes can operate in partnership with those who educate our young people. Equally our pastoral care in the lockdown has been highlighted as first class in a ‘How to do Pastoral Care’ pamphlet issued by the Diocese, to help other parishes respond to the challenges of Covid 19. Our ‘Messy Church’ has continued on-line with fantastic viewing numbers and the quality of our Sunday Worship even at the height of the lockdown has been nothing short of amazing. These are just a few examples of the important work which has continued, despite the constraints we have faced during the crisis. However, all this work, in the light of no regular collections or fund-raising capability, has left the parishes of our Benefice with a combined total deficit of over £19,000.

 

Now, long ago, a church custom was to give the Rector of the Benefice the collection at Christmas as a gesture of love and support for the work put in during the year. Now whilst this practice has long been laid to rest, I would like to ask that during Advent this year you respond to my plea for your support for our churches, as a way of showing your appreciation of all the effort that has been put in, in difficult circumstances, by our Ministry Team and many others in providing support, love and care for the communities of the Fromeside.

 

I realise you have all been fantastically generous this year in responding firstly, to the Syrian Refugees Appeal, then Water Aid, then my Easter Walk and more recently the ‘Comfort and Joy’ appeal to support struggling families in our local schools this Christmas; this last has now reached a staggering £10,438, thank you all so much!

 

What I am asking, as we move towards the celebration of Christmas, is for you all to reflect now on the work of your church and to give thanks to God for its ministry. Firstly, through prayer, because it is only through God’s grace that we have achieved so much. Then I hope you will also feel moved to give generously to ‘The Rectors Advent Appeal’, as a symbol of your gratitude for all the hard work that has gone into the care of our communities during this Pandemic. You can make a BACS payment to the Benefice Account; Fromeside Parish Partnership, account number:18087930, sort code: 52 10 51, with the ref ‘Rectors Appeal’ or send a donation here to me at the Rectory. At the end of Advent, the amount raised will be split proportionally between our churches to help cushion the blow of the additional expense we have incurred in ministering during the Covid 19 Crisis and to compensate for our not being able to gather together to fund raise as we would in a normal year. If you wish to make a payment direct to one of the churches, or increase your planned giving in 2021, or just support us through your prayers, that will be amazing. Believe me, whatever you can spare to support the Church this Advent as we prepare for the future and all it brings will be gratefully received.

 

On the worship front, next weeks ‘Message from the Rector’ will have all the details of our Christmas Services both online, outdoors and hopefully in Church. In the meantime, this Sunday’s service will be online at 10am on:  https://www.fromesidechurches.org.uk/recorded-services/

 

On top of this Messy Church is now available on: https://fromesidemessychurch.wordpress.com/2020/11/19/november-2020-shine-like-a-star/  and is well worth a look, as is our children’s worship on: https://www.fromesidechurches.org.uk/messages-resources-for-the-current-crisis/worship-for-young-people/

 

Thank you all once again for your continued love and support; it really is appreciated by me and all who are working hard for God’s Kingdom values here on the Fromeside.

 

Take care, keep safe and may God Bless you and all whom you love this Advent.

 

Fr Malcolm

Rector of the Fromeside Benefice


 

The Rectory, 70 High St, Winterbourne, Bristol, BS36 1JQ

Tel: 01454 776518   Email: m.strange@fromesidechurches.org.uk