At the APCM in 2009 I shared a vision for All Saints having people working in four key areas of pastoral and missional ministry – Children & Families, Youth, Addiction and The Elderly. Since then I have in my own thoughts added a fifth strand, Poverty & Debt. I feel very strongly that as disciples of Jesus we are called to care for the community he has placed us in – showing his love through practical acts of love and kindness. In Matthew 25 the test of whether we “know” Jesus is how we have behaved to the poor, the outcast, the prisoner, the sick and the hungry. Many of the Church family are already involved in these sorts of ministries but I believe that we can increase our involvement and impact.
I believe we are at a key moment, where as a Church family we need to take a step of faith in reaching out with the love of Jesus into our community in new and practical ways. The PCC has agreed in principle that we seek to set up a charitable trust, which is financially independent from the PCC, with the express purpose of providing a “functional structure” through which we can then seek funding to employ people to meet the community needs which we identify – the headline ideas I shared are neither a complete list of what we could do, nor the only possibilities.
The name chosen for the new trust is aspire would be organised as a separate financial entity, with trustees selected by All Saints PCC and including community representatives if they so desired. As with many trusts there would be a “Council of Reference” – a separate body which can advise, oversee, and encourage the work. There is a possibility of us getting funding for someone working as a project overseer, a “Community Catalyst” – for two or three days a week – with the aim of establishing aspire as a trust, identifying the first areas for engagement, seeking funding for the first workers and then managing the work of the trust.
I believe that the current circumstances mean that this is the ideal time to establish a new approach to ministry in our villages. Big Lottery Funding is coming into the village, and we need to have the structures in place now to enable us to use the opportunities to see “God’s love in action in Woodlands and Highfields”. I believe that the establishment of aspire will put us in a strong position to do this.
Please pray for the way forward, please consider if you would like to be involved in setting up the trust and acting as a trustee. We can only do this properly if we do it together, with one another and with Jesus