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Reporting from the Open Forum / AGM – 2009

23 September 2009 No Comment

Representatives from Churches Together in Sudbury & District met earlier this week for their AGM at All Saints church hall; more than 60 people from 17 churches came to hear about the work that has been undertaken over the last year. Representatives also elected officers and a new Chair Person. It was a time to say ‘thank you’ to Chairman, Roger Pullan who has worked tirelessly over the last five years and built a strong team of people onto the committee. The work undertaken has been exceptional.

The setting up of Kettle & Fish is one of the key initiatives that has taken place. Ask any local person about Kettle & Fish and they can tell you that it’s the best place to call into for refreshment and hospitality on market day  – in fact an average of 340 visitors pass through St Peter’s, the home of Kettle & Fish each week. But it is more than providing a great cup of tea, there’s The Marriage Focus Group which promotes the importance of marriage in church; Men in Christ – a group of men keen to encourage and support Christian men in their faith; Town Pastors launched in August whose mission is to share their love of God in the community by patrolling the streets of Sudbury throughout the hours of a Saturday night / Sunday morning; Christian Aid Week when a total of £7766 was raised to help the world’s poorest people with sustainable  development and emergency relief; Eden’s Project geared especially for the younger folk of Sudbury  providing after school drop-in sessions and a youth club. Christmas time sees everyone busy collecting, packing and delivering with the hamper scheme run to support Age Concern and Home Start Babergh – over 130 hampers last year with the aim this year to exceed that total. And then there is the annual Shoe Box Appeal which this year plans to send out a staggering 10,000 boxes of much needed items to children in Belarus.

The list could go on, but what it seems is that wherever there is a local need, Churches Together in Sudbury respond, work and develop activities and programmes operating in partnership with other groups and agencies in the town and the many reports on their activities that were highlighted at Monday’s meeting certainly made that clear.

People coming and people leaving ….

After five years as Chairman of Churches Together in Sudbury & District, Roger Pullan made way for his successor, Peter Halden, a member of St Andrew’s and who has been the driving force behind the planning of Live on Market Hill over the last few years.

Vice Chairman, Malcolm Offord, extended grateful thanks to Roger for his dedication and commitment to the role saying:

“Roger is a thoroughly modest and deeply spiritual man with a love and commitment to Sudbury and the churches and with an urgent desire to make God’s grace known throughout the community. We all thank you for the service to the town and churches that you have given.”

A warm welcome was extended to  two new ministers, the Rev’d John Boardman who has joined St John’s as their new minister and the Rev’d  Jenny Seggar recently appointed as curate of St Gregory’s.

After four years as vicar of St. Andrew’s, Great Cornard, the Rev’d Jamie Allen and his family are soon to relocate to New Zealand. Jamie and his wife Suzi attended the Churches Together AGM and were given a very fond farewell as Jane Kohler led a moving tribute that left not a dry eye in the room!

Jamie commented:

“We came to Great Cornard four years ago with a great sense of excitement and privilege, and enjoyed the warmest welcome you could imagine at every turn. It has been SUCH an experience of Grace. Jesus gave us the illustration of the mustard seed – once planted, the sky is the limit; because God the Father is more ready to give than we are to receive, and the Holy Spirit nurtures what is faithfully sown. So there have been many opportunities for grace — such as the Great Three-Legged Race – where, we hope, we broke a world record (this has yet to be adjudicated!) – but most of all, we saw four hundred people in blazing heat, running a 200m three-legged race out of sheer goodwill on Friars Meadow this August. This race was, at one level, in praise to God the Holy Trinity. At another level, it symbolised the link that, at St Andrew’s, we cherish between church, schools and community. At another level, it was a brilliant excuse for enjoying each-other’s company.

“It’s easy to see why it’s been great to be here! There have been so many moments of lament and celebration – some so profound they bring you to tears. There are beautiful relationships growing like mustard-tree roots through our community which are deeper than words, but shot through with God’s grace. And there are opportunities for worship and prayer at every turn – and not just in the church building — although St Andrew’s is surely one of the loveliest sacred spaces in the whole world.”

Jamie went on to say how much he will miss Gt Cornard and all its people but how he sees the mustard seed of faith one that will continue to grow. Their last Sunday at St Andrew’s will be 15 November when there will be a shared communion at 8am and 10am – the latter being followed by a soup lunch.

Archbishop of York to dedicate

Although Jamie will be licensed as vicar of St Mary’s, New Plymouth later this year, the extra special occasion will be 6 March 2010, when St Mary’s becomes a new Cathedral and Jamie its Dean, with a special service that will be taken by  John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, and which it is hoped, will be video linked on Sunday 7th with St Andrew’s.

Jamie continued:

“This event has amazing depths of significance in a number of different ways – to do with a lovely church family; a community; even the story of a nation. It is a tremendous privilege to be involved, but in essence, the situation is no different from all that we have shared at St Andrew’s Great Cornard – a house of prayer, whose threshold is smooth, whose door is open, and whose Gospel is one of welcome and love – the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We all wish Jamie and his family much happiness in their new and challenging life in New Zealand. The legacy they leave behind will be one that is certain to continue and grow and we all extend our heartfelt thanks for everything they have achieved and contributed during their time here.

See also a note from outgoing chairman, Roger Pullan.

You can download the Agenda and our Annual Report, Secretary’s Report & Peter Halden/Chris Proffitt’s candidate statements, as well as the Annual Accounts, Finances Report, AGM Minutes and Sudbury Watch Report.

Main Picture: From left to right: Peter Holden, incoming chair of Churches Together, Jamie Allen, St Andrew’s and Roger Pullan, retiring chair of Churches Together.

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