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John Packer

Rev Brian Hunt, CT President for 2005/6, welcomed all to the Annual Assembly at Ashville College on Thursday 13 October.  A buffet supper, sponsored by Church House Trust, provided opportunity to meet friends old and new.

Nigel Beetles and the St John Fisher worship groupThe opening worship at the Assembly was led by the musicians of St John Fisher school - formed as a worship group especially for this occasion.  Putting God first with a sweetly jazzed 4/4 version of the hymn 'To God be the Glory', the corporate act of worship followed with a reading from Ephesians, a time of prayer and the song 'Servant King'.  Our thanks to Nigel Beetles and the musicians of St John Fisher school - along with singers from Aidan's Flame - for an uplifting start to the evening.

Bishop John PackerBishop John Packer, chair of WYEC, offered two thought-provoking sessions of insight, encouraging those present to consider how best we use the gifts and talents that God has poured out on his wider church.  The Assembly noted the many works performed in the Lord's name across Harrogate, and took time to discern where the Church may need to work to meet the needs of the community.  With a 'blank sheet', the wider church could consider reorganising its key ministries and places of worship, administration, pastoral and special needs provision.  Many at the Assembly suggested that the discussions could fruitfully continue for some time on how to ground these thoughts in the reality of our situation here and now.  Churches Together in Harrogate's Area Groups provide the means for this discussion to continue.

Church House TrustAngela Hiughes and Liz WilliamsGratitude was expressed to all who had contributed to the evening, especially Canon Tony Shepherd and the trustees of Church House Trust, launched as part of the evening's activities.  Following on from the Church Leaders' conference at Wydale in November 2004, we were delighted that Mrs Liz Williams (Anglican Diocesan Training Officer) was able to help facilitate this evening, assisted by Rev Angela Hughes (Stainbeck URC).

'From heaven you came...' song of worship led by the musicians of St John Fisher school.

The song sheet included these questions for group discussion:

  • What plans are in hand for your church or Area? 1 minute each!
  • With a ‘blank sheet', how would you plan out the way the wider Church carries out its Mission in the whole of Harrogate? Think in terms of this year, next year, in 5, 10 year or 25 years
  • How will you and your church take things forward?
  • What do we need to make the church more effective?
    What are the needs we are responding to?
    What are the key ingredients required to help the church achieve its mission? 
    Do we need to work in isolation to be more effective? 
    What type of support do we need to be more effective in our mission and ministry?