A meeting was recently been held for the East London Area Group on 13th July 2019 at Wanstead URC. Fourteen people attended from Wanstead, Gants Hill, Trinity Walthamstow, Grange Park and Vine. I provided the opening devotions, which was Psalm 1 speaking about choices.
There was a lot of news from each of the churches. Wanstead had an enjoyable visit to Engelskirchen by ten members together with some people from Christchurch. They are upgrading their windows and sound system.
Gants Hill's website has now attracted 316 visitors. Recent general maintenance work came to a total of £10,000. An initiative has been put forward to find the next of kin for members of the congregation so that if someone should be in distress, the minister and elders know with whom to speak.
Trinity Walthamstow has had an elders training day and is facilitating a food bank.
Grange Park is organising a trip to Bournemouth on 17th August. They also took part in the Circle the City initiative for Christian Aid. They have started a children's Saturday club and an application to Synod to fund a Children's Worker has now been sent.
Vine Church, Ilford is hosting a holiday club from 12th - 16th August for four and a half to 13-year-olds. They have also arranged a climate change conference.
Joe from Grange Park took part in a Synod initiative (cause for celebration) where he was able to network and attend various interesting workshops. Joe is beginning ministerial training at Westminster College and is equipping himself well by attending various events and getting a breadth of understanding about the URC.
Joe also advised us of recent youth events, such as a barbecue at Grange Park on the 12th May, which went really well.
The ELG special fund is proceeding and the account should be open with the Co-Op soon. A vacancy for two pastorates has been agreed and we now await profiles of potential ministers who wish to join us. The manse, which needs updating with a downstairs toilet and extension, is being processed but the anticipated cost is now £150,000.
Our convener Francis, in relation to the vacancy, posed the question "Are the churches in a good place to receive a minister?" Any potential candidate would want to know that the churches are full of enthusiasm and support. We were asked to ensure that any current issues within the churches were dealt with as soon as possible.
Pat from Vine wanted to know who could vote at the meetings and what people's roles were. After debate, it was considered that it was an open meeting, so anyone can attend from the churches and vote. It is up to the church secretaries or church representatives to report back to the individual churches.
There had been a suggestion of a supergroup being formed between Heath and Havering, Forest and ourselves, which Francis was not keen about. I proposed that the ELG remains as it is because we are still learning to work with one another. The proposal was seconded and passed unanimously.
The ELG mission statement, which was produced in order to expedite the bank account was considered something that could be adopted by all churches and the text of the statement can be found here.
The meeting closed and refreshments were provided by Wanstead.
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon