Celebration of our wonderful Church Wardens

On Thursday 9th May most of our Church Wardens were admitted to office, encouraged and celebrated in a wonderful service led by our new Archdeacon Hilary Dawson.

Our Churchwardens are vital to the health and wellbeing of our worshipping communities, and this service was a fitting charge for them.

This is a good moment to remind us of what is the Church Warden’s responsibility, and what is not!

Churchwardens have a leadership role within the church community, and share with the Clergy its vision and mission.

“The church is called to be pastoral — to look after individual people:
to be evangelistic — to tell people the Good News and invite them to accept it;
to be social — to help… those suffering from racial, economic and other forms of injustice; and to be ecumenical — to encourage good relations with other Christian denominations.” (p32 & 33, Practical Church Management by James Behrens)

But, of course, this is the call of the whole church, not just our Church Wardens!

Specific responsibilities include;

Property:

Ensuring our buildings and churchyards are kept in good order. How this is done will vary hugely from Church Wardens who are more than happy to climb ladders and mend broken slates to others who have someone they know who knows a great builder. There is no right or wrong way of doing it, just someone who has an eye on things.

Worship:

Ensuring that our buildings are ready for worship, that there is a system for getting supplies of consumables, that there are rotas for different responsibilities and that a proper record of monies is kept. If the person expected to lead the service doesn’t turn up, the Church Warden is recognised as someone who can step in.

Again, I would say that in a healthy church, working as the Body of Christ, it would be better if there was someone taking care of ordering supplies, another sorting out rota’s, and someone else recording monies, with the Church Warden just checking that everything is covered – not doing everything!

Care:

The Church Warden should take care of the Clergy and their family, their expenses and their time off. Having someone there who is asking, ‘how are you doing?’, ‘have you booked a holiday?’, ‘could someone else do that instead of you?’… makes all the difference to Clergy who do not otherwise have that day to day collegiality.

Of course, that care extends to the congregation and community as well. The Church Warden will be committed to praying for those they serve.

Other than those key areas of Property, Worship and Care, they are to;

  • Attend PCC meetings
  • Attend the annual Archdeacon’s visitation
  • Attend Church Warden and Treasurers meetings
  • Produce an annual fabric report for the APCM
  • Produce an annual Articles of Enquiry report for the Archdeacon
  • Ensure the record of services book is correctly filled in with congregation numbers and details of the collection, president and preacher

Again, whilst responsible for the above Churchwardens do not have to do them all themselves: indeed it is good practice if others share in these areas. Churchwardens can delegate!

Our Church Wardens are so important, and, just as we hope they will care for the Clergy,
I hope that you will care for them. Ask them ‘how are you doing?’, ‘have you booked a holiday?’, ‘could someone else do that instead of you?’… and, whenever you can, thank them for their service to us.

Left to right [with apologies for quality of photo taken on my smashed phone!]:Deirdre [Church Warden of St Laurence], Cyril [Church Warden of Whiteshill with Paganhill], Archdeacon Hilary, Iris [Reader Emeritus, St Laurence], Joy [Church Warden of Holy Trinity, Stroud], Amanda [Church Warden of Holy Trinity, Stroud]
Rob [Church Warden of Slad with Uplands] was there too but managed to sneak out before I nabbed him. Deb [Church Warden of Slad with Uplands] and Dick [Church Warden of St Matthew’s] will be sworn in by Archdeacon Hilary in the coming month.

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In these unprecedented times, we are working hard to find imaginative solutions in a landscape that has been rapidly changing. Sometimes we get things right, and sometimes we miss the mark. I apologise that this has been the case regarding communion.

For those of you who have received wafers in a parcel, we would ask that you either consume them, or put them somewhere safe to bring back once we are able to be together again.

We are going to be sending out a new order of service for use during this time as either a simple service of the word or, on occasion, to help us to share an Agape meal together.

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