Just like this time last year, as I, Phil, write this, I’ve just finished putting together December’s St Matthew’s News: as always, selected extracts available online. Please remember to sign the Visitors’ Book if you stop by.
It’s been a year of both challenges and exciting developments in the church. In June the Revd Julia Sheffield joined us as a non-stipendiary (unpaid) Curate whilst Monica Johns, a long-standing church member, was licensed as Pastoral Assistant. Along with Dorothy, our Lay Reader, and several others, Julia and Monica are now members of our newly established leadership team. One piece of the puzzle that’s still missing, however, is a Director of Music: watch this space.
Education & Training
Sue is still a tutor and training minister for STETS (Southern Theological Education Training Scheme) and has recently taken on responsibility for Initial Reader Training in the Willesden Area (Diocese of London). She now has even more letters after her name, having gained a distinction in her Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Development in Adult Theological Education (try saying that whilst you’re eating a banana sandwich) and has achieved national notoriety by appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book with A N Wilson in January. Another first was presenting a paper at the Evangelical Alliance Conference on the Atonement in July. Google “Sue Groom” to discover more!
A watershed experience for Sue this year was a Leadership Conference with the Grubb Institute, Transforming Clergy Leadership Rôles. It’s also been a good year for Sue’s health, keeping both body and soul in trim with regular swimming and a couple of retreats at her favourite Franciscan Friary in Alnmouth, Northumberland, a beautiful spot on the North East coast.
Another short cruise on Almost this year to Hemel Hempstead again for our late summer break, where we stopped and repainted the roof. Next year perhaps we’ll complete the job!
Farewell to Fetlar
Sadly we report the end of an era. Things weren’t working out for Alison so she sought a release from her vows and left SOLI. She’s now living in Devon with her dog and a friend. Please pray for them as they face an uncertain future and for the Community in Fetlar as they come to terms with the situation.
Please pray for Phil’s nephew, Andrew, who has Crohn’s Disease and has been in and out of hospital with operations and complications this year. It’s been very painful for him and stressful for the rest of the family. More family news.
Online & In Print
The UK Christian Bookshops Directory (UKCBD) is still growing, new book reviews added every month. Please email me if there’s a particular book you’d like to see reviewed or if you’d like to contribute a review. Thank you to everyone who has supported the project so far please spread the word.
Both of us have lost count of our book reviews this year popping up variously in Anvil, Evangelical Quarterly, Faith for Life magazine and a few other odd places and Phil’s website reviews are a regular feature in Christian Marketplace magazine.
London School of Theology
Phil’s been at LST for over 5 years now, the longest he’s ever stayed in one job, and the bookshop is busier than ever. Visit the shop website to find out more and if you’re in Christian leadership, ask for your Church Leader’s discount: 10% off most products!
As always, this comes with our love, best wishes for Christmas
and our prayers for peace in 2006,
© Phil & Sue Groom 2005