March 2020

Since I last wrote, we have held a morning together as churches looking at our future. In fact trying to step into the future 5 years hence and asking how we want it to be then. 21 of us from St Martin’s Preston and All Saints St Paul’s Walden met to discuss this.

Three big themes emerge. One is, that both our churches will be ‘younger’ in five years time… because they will be serving children and young people to a far greater extent. The relationship with the two schools, already excellent because of their two headteachers, will have been strengthened. We foresee really strong bonds, and a shift in our age profile.

A second theme is that the church is more fully at the centre of our village communities, and recognised by the villages and others for being just that.

And the third theme is that our two churches will be interacting and engaging more with each other: sharing services more frequently, caring for our communities, and varying the types of service too.

Vision is one thing and we certainly need it. But as a mentor of mine said to me years ago: “There comes a point when strategy has to turn into action!” Over the next year or so we will together be identifying the handful of priorities for action that will turn our vision into reality. I hope that as many of you as possible will be engaged in this.

Meanwhile, we are now in the season of Lent, the time of lengthening days outside, and self- examination for Christians on the inside. Do make time for the Lent lunches in the Village Hall, Whitwell, and time for reflection for yourself, as we journey once more with Jesus to the cross.

With every good wish,