A new Ministry for us all
Revd Chrissie Little, Associate Rector
As most parishioners will know, at the end of January we shall be welcoming the Revd Chrissie Little as Associate Rector of the parish. We shall be doing so very conscious of our great good fortune as we begin this new stage of the Church’s ministry in this part of Nottingham.
We are most importantly fortunate in Chrissie herself. Those of us involved in the interview process met someone in whom God has clearly worked and is working, and one who has a clear calling to this place.
Secondly, we are fortunate to have the ministry of someone with the experience, skills and expertise that Chrissie brings to us. Her background in urban ministry over a number of years will benefit not our parish alone, but the deanery as a whole.
We are especially fortunate in having a second full time member of clergy appointed following Eileen’s departure. Within the immediate foreseeable future the number of parishes with more than one full time stipendiary, ordained priest will be few and far between. One of the many reasons for this is that it has become increasingly apparent over the past fifteen years that the numbers being ordained are more than offset by the numbers retiring. In short there are many more posts than there are clergy to fill them.
The pattern of ministry will have to change to meet this situation; it has already done so in rural areas. With thought and imagination these changes can be beneficial to both clergy and their congregations. Our own parish union, by anticipating in an agreed way the kind of change that is going to happen in other parts of the country, puts us in the vanguard of the future of the church’s ministry in Nottingham.
But this means that there is no going back. For the All Saints’ part of the parish it is unfortunate that because of the non-availability of suitable accommodation, there cannot at this time be a member of clergy resident there. On the other hand, Chrissie’s arrival means that both she and Andrew - together with David and Fred - will be freer to make and maintain contacts across the whole parish. Similarly at St Peter’s, Chrissie will not be a replacement for Eileen but she will be establishing her own way of ministry in a new pastoral situation.
Pope Gregory the Great, who despatched Augustine to the English people, famously wrote in his time – fourteen hundred years ago – that the church appears to be like an old and worm-eaten ship about to break up. If the ship of the Church is still afloat it is because as in the age of sail we make no progress in a flat calm peaceful sea. So do not expect that we shall return to some peaceful, calm past as our new Associate Rector joins us but rather embark with her on a voyage of faith into the future of this parish and city. Pray for her new ministry and that of us all in both congregations as we advance into new ventures in the progress of the Church of God in which we all serve.