There’s a time for everything…

 … a time to review

Book, glasses and computerThough I am not naturally very good at it, over the years I have developed an understanding about time management.    I have been tutored in, and have applied various time management techniques in an effort to clarify my priorities and to separate out what’s important and urgent from what is not.

My observation is that no matter what system of time management you use, managing time can still be a struggle.   I have concluded however, that the best way of ensuring that your approach is in good order is to reflect and reassess your priorities, pattern and process from time to time.

Such reflection is also good for the soul as from time to time we examine the pattern of our life against the priorities God has for us – both generally and personally.    The psalmist even encourages us to seek God’s help and revelation in this process.  Psalm 139:23-24 helpfully sets out a prayer for this inner examination:

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting’.

There is a sense that inner reflection is good to do routinely – as for example in the ‘examen’ prayer designed to be used each day.  There’s also a sense however, that it is good to have a whole season of inner reflection – like for example when we face major or unsettling change that we need to make sense of or in a particular season of the year e.g. in Lent.

Reassessing priorities, patterns and processes is not only good for us individually, it is also good for an organisation to undertake from time to time.

We sense that this is just such a season in the life of St John’s.   We have been through damaging and unsettling change.  Even as we continue to come to terms with that we are looking to position ourselves for the future God has for us.  In this interim period the leadership and staff team are looking at various aspects of our life together.

One particular area that has been recognised as in need of review is the governance of St John’s which, because of Charity Law and an increase in staff, has become more complex in recent years. *see footnote for further details

I wanted to let you know that we are embarking on a significant review of our governance structure so that we can be well placed and appropriately organised as we go into the future.  The PCC has invited the Diocesan Secretary, Andrew Halstead to start this process and to make a report to the PCC for their consideration.  Andrew will be working under the following brief;

To review all staff, clergy, Standing Committee and PCC roles and responsibilities in order that a coherent structure is established to ensure that ministry and mission of the church can be delivered effectively and efficiently;

To propose a suitable governance structure with the necessary checks and balances clearly identified.

Andrew will be interviewing staff, clergy, Standing Committee and PCC representatives over the next few weeks and, in due course will report to the PCC.   It will take some time for the PCC to weigh this and come to a conclusion and it may well be that any suggested change may not be able to be implemented until after a new vicar is appointed.

Any proposed change will, of course, be explained and discussed at an Annual Parochial Church Council.   Even though we are not expecting any change arising from this to either happen quickly or to impact the worship or experience of being part of St John’s, we feel that it is important to begin this process of review now.

Please do pray for Andrew Halstead, the staff and the PCC as we embark on this review process.

Shalom,
Antony

23 October 2014

* As we are part of the Anglican Church the Parochial Church Council (PCC) is charged in conjunction with the vicar, with leadership responsibility and oversight.  However, as the PCC is a large body some of this responsibility is actually exercised by the Standing Committee and also, in much of the day to day operational decisions, by the staff employed by the church.   Some years ago St John’s became an independent charity which is governed by trustees who are accountable to the Charity Commission.  Currently the 25 members of the PCC are trustees of the charity of St John’s.

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