From our Interim Moderator
These are very exciting times at St David’s Eastham. We have called a new minister, Rev’d Louise Franklin, who will be inducted on Sunday 24th March at 2.30pm to be our spiritual leader and guide to support us as we all work for God’s kingdom. She will bring her energy and enthusiasm, as well as great personal warmth, into our congregational life, and I’m sure you will all quickly get to know her as she gets to know you.
However, you will be sharing her ministry with the 128 members of her current church, West Kirby URC, in a pastorate with the notional scoping of 75/25%, West Kirby/St David’s. We must therefore be realistic in what we might expect of one-quarter of a minister’s time; leading worship on about one in four Sundays, and the equivalent of one day per week on other church-related activities, but continuing to offer from our own membership the full witness and support that we have been offering in the absence of a minister. Louise will be able to bring greater focus to the ways in which we use our many God-given gifts, and to the effectiveness of how we use our scarce resources of people, buildings and money.
What this will mean in detail will be worked out in due course by Louise with the elders of both churches, However, it is clear that she and you and the congregation at West Kirby will have to work hard to identify priorities, and to suggest how she might best allocate the limited time she has available at St David’s. Choices will have to be made – but with trust and faith we can look forward confidently to a vibrant and spiritual ministry that reaches out to all in the church and the community.
For me, however, there is disappointment as a result of this new beginning, in that I shall no longer be able to serve as your Interim Moderator. After 30 months with you since September 2016 my involvement will abruptly come to an end. For me it has been a most enjoyable and satisfying time. I have learned a lot – about you, about the URC, and about myself. There have been ups and downs – I’m glad to say mostly ‘ups’ – and a very appropriate end point has been reached with the appointment of a new minister, and in a shorter time that many had expected, or indeed feared!
I am particularly pleased that this period of ministerial vacancy of over two years has not been merely marking time till a new minister was called. We have maintained most of our church activities, to sustain and expand our established commitments and our wider witness to God’s love in Eastham. However, we have also had the opportunity to think more deeply and realistically about our future as a congregation of God’s people. What can and should we do with our reduced numbers: for our members, for those who use our buildings, and for the community at large? Our LMMR process discussions in 2017 and 2018 helped us to realise that changes are indeed needed, in what we do, how we do it and where we do it. With new ministerial leadership we will now be able to move more quickly and with greater confidence into a renewed and sharper vision of our future witness.
Though I will not have the opportunity to travel with you along what I’m sure will be an exhilarating journey towards that new vision, you will always be in my prayers and thoughts. I wish all of you at St David’s every success in furthering your mission together as a congregation, and each one of you every happiness in the coming years in your service and continuing commitment to God’s kingdom of justice and joy.
Yours in Christ, Bill Gould
From our Interim Moderator