From the Rectory
January 2009

The compliments of the season to you all!

A new year has begun and I wonder just what challenges and opportunities it will provide us with? 2008 saw the completion of a number of important works in Church, not least the installation of the new heating. It also saw us changing mood from maintenance to outreach and mission. Lots of little things have been done; all of the chairs have been treated for woodworm to name just one of them, although three hundred chairs was not such a little thing! In recent months the Church really has looked in good shape and cared for.

The launch of the new Family Service has proved to be a popular one, especially with those with young families. It greatly enhances the work that we already do with the children who come to Tick-Tock and with the Sunday school. The Sunday school has no doubt suffered; we knew it would, but the increased number of children who now come with their parents to the Family Service more than makes up for that. Far better to focus our energies every month in a particular way than to sit and hope that children will come every Sunday, they won't, and for those who prepare, hoping that they will, it can be very disappointing when no one comes. One other spin-off that we didn't expect, of course if there are more people in Church then there is more money in the plate, and that has got to be good news.

In this New Year we will start a further initiative and begin activity days for the children at special times during the year. The first of these will be an Easter workshop on Holy Saturday. If successful we will hold more during the coming year.

The work with our neighbouring school continues. Susan Greenland, Shirley Driscoll and I are Governors, the Churchwardens and the Priest in Charge are also Trustees. The whole school now comes to Church for an act of Collective Worship about once a month. They all come and experience Communion each term; they make the bread in school and bring it to the Service. The Service is then explained in a child-friendly way. Their Ofsted report was, as we know quite wonderful: 'Outstanding' in all areas.

The PCC will be having an 'Away Day' in the Spring to focus on how we might engage as a Parish with Mission, not only locally, but nationally and internationally; please remember all of them in your prayers as we together approach this important opportunity to look out into God's world and find ways of making it a better place.

The following took place in 2008; all with God's good grace. We might look busy, but never too busy for God.

There were eight Weddings and one Marriage Blessing, six Baptisms and fourteen Funerals, seven in Church. We said good bye to several dear friends.

The Southampton Street Pastors, which have held all of their planning meetings either in Freemantle Rectory or in Freemantle Church start training on 24th.January. The past year has seen a co-ordinator appointed (a paid position), and a bank account opened. The Southampton Street Pastors is a registered charity. The first year is now fully funded; God is good. We are one of the current Mayor of Southampton's nominated charities, and we will be commissioned to coincide with his leaving office as Mayor. He and the Southampton City Council, the Police and a number of other important agencies have been very supportive of the Street Pastor Scheme, and there are five people from Christ Church, Freemantle who have offered to help in various ways including being Street Pastors, with the scheme. Please remember all of them in your prayers. This is such important work, and a part of the outreach and mission of all of the churches in Southampton.

Annual report - Please start to prepare these reports and forward them to the Rectory, (not by email), as soon as possible. It takes quite a while to compile all of them into a report. Some reports were omitted last year simply because they did not arrive in time! And it didn't get printed until just a few days before the APCM.

Yours for Christ's sake.