In three weeks’ time on the 28th February at 11.30am, God willing, we’ll be having our PAM (Parish Annual Meeting). And because we are such a mixed bunch (in a nice sense), or to put it another way: because we come from either no denominational background or various ones, I thought it helpful to briefly explain what it’s all about – and especially as we usually have about 50 people come and go throughout each year, and so many of us are relatively newcomers.
The PAM will basically cover three areas: ministry reports, financial accounts and leaders. God willing, ministry reports for 2015 will be presented and accepted; audited accounts for 2015 will be presented and accepted, as well as a budget for 2016; and leaders for 2016 will be elected, and in the majority of cases no doubt re-elected (nomination forms are in the foyer today).
With respect to leaders, each denomination seems to have their own names and offices for church leadership. Some denominations have a board of deacons, some have a group of elders, and some have a parish council. It’s not the name that matters, but the character, commitment and testing of the people chosen. They need to be people full of the spirit and of wisdom (Acts 6:3). In other words, they need to be mature Christians – people you can depend on, people who are godly, people who will stand up for God’s truth, people who God would be pleased to have lead/govern his people. They are also to be people who have been tested (1 Timothy 3:10). This means that before someone is to be appointed to a leadership position they must be people who are already involved in ministry and found to be most sound in their faith and their walk.
In 2015 we had a Parish Council of twelve people, consisting of three Wardens (Rod Cole-Clarke, James Sartain and Richard Unwin) and nine councillors (Stephen Bull, Phil Harrison, Kristin Hohoi, Rod Meakin, Judy Nickles, Scott Saggers, Felicity Sartain, Craig Waters and Dan White). In case you are wondering, the main difference between the wardens and the councillors is that the wardens have a far greater responsibility – biblically they have a role of an elder and therefore should be men (1 Timothy 2:12), whereas councillors have a role similar to that of a deacon. The wardens also have specific areas of responsibility, such as buildings and finances. However in saying this, it is still the joint responsibility of the Senior Minister (me), the wardens and councillors to govern the ministry and management of the parish.
I truly believe – and I say this every year before our PAM – that three of the strengths of God’s church here are the leaders he continually provides us with; the unity he has helped us to maintain (not always easy) and the financial generosity of his people here (amid many challenges). By the grace of God may that continue in 2016.
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