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Rector's Repot to Vestry 2019

The Annual Vestry Meeting provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the ministries we have lived out over the past year and to look forward to what God might be calling us to do in the year ahead. St. Jude’s is a vibrant Christian community and the mission and ministry we seek to live out in our common life together is rooted in the Five Marks of Mission.
The five Marks of Mission are:
To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
To respond to human need by loving service.
To transform unjust structures of society
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
Our five-year mission and ministry plan is centred in these five marks of mission. Over the past couple of years, we have grown to understand how everything that we do, from our Trivia Nights and Coffee Houses, to our worship, outreach and Christian education is in some way living out at least one of these five marks of mission.
To Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom:
At St. Jude’s we are committed to proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ through our worship and through our commitment of love and service to others. In worship, we proclaim the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament and we invite people to discover the difference this can make in their lives. The word liturgy means “work of the people” and that remains true regarding worship at St. Jude’s. Whether it is preparing the sanctuary, greeting people as they arrive, singing in the choir, reading the lessons, preaching the sermon, offering the prayers, administering the sacraments, teaching Sunday School, worship at St. Jude’s involves the whole community as we gather to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. 
Music plays an important role in our Sunday worship. We are blessed to have Christina Willatt share her gifts and leadership with us as she faithfully works with the choir and leads the congregation in singing out our joyful songs of praise to God. 
This year we also proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom by expanding the number of places that we offer worship services. We have had a team of faithful people leading worship at Kensington Village Long Term Care Facility for many years. This year we have begun to offer a monthly  Eucharist service at Mount Hope Long Term Care and at Parkwood Hospital. In 2019, we are also looking at the possibility of offering monthly worship for the residents living at Chartwell and Henley Place Long Term Care facilities.
To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
Christian education and formation is not only for children who attend Sunday School. We are committed at St. Jude’s to teaching and nurturing believers of all ages. There were several education and formation opportunities made available throughout the past year. During the season of Lent, we partnered with the congregation at St. Alban’s for a series called “Meeting Jesus in John” which provided the opportunity for the two congregations to pray together, to talk about faith, to study scripture and to get to know one another.
In the Fall, we had approximately 50 people from St. Jude’s and St. Alban’s participate in a seven week Alpha Series. Alpha is a series that presents and offers participants the opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the fundamentals of the Christian Faith. For seven weeks, we gathered together on a Tuesday evening starting with dessert and fellowship, followed by an Alpha video and concluded with group discussion. The hope in offering the Alpha program was to strengthen our own understanding of the Christian Faith and what we ourselves believe so that we might become more comfortable sharing the good news of Jesus with others, inviting them to experience the difference it could make in their lives. In November, the Deanery of London offered a four-week Bible Study led by Bishop Terry Dance. Participants gathered for dinner and fellowship and were blessed to have Bishop Terry lead them through a study that opened the scriptures in a new way and prepared them for the season of Advent. Confirmation Classes are an important part of teaching and nurturing believers who are preparing to receive the Holy Spirit and make a mature commitment to the promises made in Baptism through a celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation. The Deanery of London will be offering Confirmation Classes beginning on Sunday February 3rd. For more information please speak to Fr. Bill
To Respond to Human Need by Loving Service
St. Jude’s is whole heartedly committed to this mark of mission. The proceeds from the Nearly New Shop support all the various ways that St. Jude’s reaches out to the local community and the world with the love of Christ. This year the Outreach Committee introduced a ministry of the month in which they invited members of the congregation to support a different project each month. I give thanks to God for the generosity I have witnessed from this church family in supporting these various ministries. Whether it is the food that we collect for the Daily Bread food bank, toiletries and other items donated for the men’s mission, women’s shelter or hospice, financial support offered in support of refugee sponsorship, snacks
prepared and served at a soccer program for children from families who couldn’t afford city run leagues, gift cards and bus tickets made available to those in need who come through these doors, donations to the Rector’s discretionary fund we are committed to being the hands and feet of Jesus. It is through these actions that we offer an expression of God’s grace and love to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are hurting and in need of hope and love. A huge thank you to Cherie Laughlin and all the volunteers who work in the Nearly New Shop that make possible many of these expressions of love and concern. Thank you also to Cheryle Ann MacBelford and the Outreach committee for all your work in planning, organizing and encouraging us as a church family to live out this mark of mission.
To Transform Unjust Structures of Society
St. Jude’s continues to actively participate in a community group that is working and advocating to ensure that basic needs such as food, housing and security are available to everyone. This group not only provides programming but encourages local government and businesses to get involved in the work of ensuring that basic needs are being met. This advocacy has resulted in the formation the London Food Coalition that collects perfectly good food from local businesses (Costco being the most significant participant) that would otherwise be put in the garbage and redirecting it to be used in various programs around the city aimed at feeding the hungry.
St. Jude’s presence at the annual Pride Parade is another way in which we are committed to transforming unjust structures of society. Participating in this parade provides the opportunity for St. Jude’s to model and proclaim the baptismal promise that the dignity of every human being should be
To Strive to Safeguard the Integrity of Creation
A Stewards of Creation committee has been formed at St. Jude’s and through their leadership our congregation is being encouraged to take better care of creation. St. Jude’s has participated in local clean up and tree planting days. A lot of hard work went into caring for and tending the property around the church this year. We have worked towards improving our recycling at the church. Perhaps the biggest project in 2018 that was encouraged by the stewards of creation committee was the switch that was made throughout the entire building to LED lighting which has resulted in lowering our energy consumption. This was a major undertaking both in terms of financial commitment and volunteer hours. Thank you to
Charlotte Bouckley for getting this committee going and to Stephan Davis for his leadership in the lighting project.
Ministry to Children:
It has become increasingly clear that the days of offering a Sunday School programme and then waiting for new families with young children to come through our doors to participate in and benefit from that ministry are over. If we want to proclaim the good news of Jesus to new families with young children then we are going to have to actively reach out to them and offer children’s ministry in a new way. It simply does not make financial sense to continue to provide funding to support ministry to children based on a model that is no longer working. Therefore, a decision has been made for 2019 to not continue with a paid Sunday School Coordinator at St. Jude’s. Michelle Davis has faithfully served in this role for several years and has worked hard at developing creative curriculum and teaching our children about the good news of Jesus and a God who loves them more than they could ask or imagine. I want to be clear that this decision has nothing to do with Michelle’s performance in this position. The children of St. Jude’s and the entire congregation have been blessed to have benefitted from Michelle’s gifts, passion and love for children. This decision has been made based solely on the fact that this model of children’s ministry is no longer effective for attracting or engaging new families with children. I would like to thank Michelle for her years of faithful service to this important ministry and I am thankful that she has graciously offered to volunteer and to
continue to share her gifts in whatever form our ministry to children might take in the future.
The fact that we are not going to be financially investing in a model of ministry that is no longer attracting new families with young children does not mean that we should no longer be offering Sunday School or an alternative on Sunday mornings. Yes, we need to develop and invest in ministries that connect with new families but we also need to remain committed to caring for, teaching and nurturing the children who are already a part of the St. Jude’s family. We need volunteers willing to take a turn teaching our children on a Sunday morning. Michelle has graciously put together several lessons that can be used but we need people to volunteer to spend this time with our children and to teach them about Jesus. If you are willing to offer yourself to this ministry please speak to one of the wardens or to Bill.
On Sundays when there is no volunteer to teach there will be resources available in the nursery for children to engage with independently if they become restless participating in worship. In the absence of Sunday School, it will also be important to find ways to more actively include our children in worship. This may include children’s focuses, acting as a server or Gospel bearer, etc. 
The “Messy Church” model of ministry is one that will continue to be explored as a possible way for St. Jude’s to reach out and engage new families with children in hopes of sharing the gospel with them. This model of ministry is focussed on reaching out to families in the community and inviting them to come on a day other than Sunday to learn about Jesus together in a messy, informal way and then to share a meal together. Most Messy Church programs are offered once a month and offer a number of different activity centres focussed on a particular Bible Story that families can participate in together, followed by sharing a meal together to foster fellowship and community amongst the participants. Offering a Messy
Church program would require a financial commitment to advertise the program in the local community and to pay for supplies as well as a commitment from volunteers to run the activity centres and prepare the meals. A working group will be established to explore a made for St. Jude’s approach to children’s ministry and to prayerfully discern how God might be calling us to reach beyond the walls of our church building to connect with families in a new way. If you would like to be a part of this conversation please speak to one of the wardens.
Regional Ministry
2018 was the first full year of a Regional Ministry between the congregations of St. Alban’s and St. Jude’s. This partnership was entered with the belief that we would be stronger working together as we seek to live out the Five Marks of Mission and provide an Anglican Presence in North East London. We have had many opportunities throughout this past year to engage in mission and ministry activities together. The Lenten series and the Alpha program were well attended by both congregations. Joining the two choirs together for the Good Friday and Advent Cantatas was a particular joy and delight. Members of each congregation attended the other’s dinners and activities throughout the year to show support and to foster a deepening relationship with each other.
Another hope for this Regional Ministry was that it would strengthen the financial viability of each congregation. While this partnership has been successful in several areas the question of financial viability remains a concern for our sister congregation of St. Alban’s. Throughout the year, they have been wrestling with this reality and discerning their future. At their Annual Vestry meeting they will be voting on a motion to disestablish as a congregation and encourage their members to become part of the St. Jude’s family. This is a difficult time for our brothers and sisters at St. Alban’s and I would ask that we keep all of them in our prayers as they discern their way forward guided by the Holy Spirit.
Associate Priest
What a blessing is has been to share in the work of ministry with Fr. Matt. In addition to working well together in living out our call to priesthood a deep friendship has been formed. Fr. Matt has provided strong and prayerful leadership to the people of St. Alban’s and we continue to work together to offer shared ministry opportunities between the two congregations. I am particularly grateful for the pastoral support and the care and concern that we have been able to extend to one another as we seek to live this vocation.
What an incredible group of ladies we are blessed with at St. Jude’s. They continue to give selflessly of themselves in loving service while enjoying spending time with each other. The crafty ladies continue to meet each Wednesday and I enjoy the opportunity to spend time with this group over the lunch hour when possible. The catering team was extremely busy this year as we continue to open our doors to host various Diocesan events. Thank you for your work, and ministry at St. Jude’s.
Wardens and Staff
St. Jude’s is blessed to have several individuals who give tirelessly of themselves to make this place work. We are blessed with a dedicated and faithful group of wardens and staff at St. Jude’s. A huge thank you for all the hours of your time that you have so freely offered and for your unwavering love and commitment to the ministry of the Church.
Additional Thank You’s
I say this every year but to those who greet, read, fix, teach, sing, play, pray, study, decorate, wash, iron, serve, collect, count, deliver, or any other verb I can think of.  THANK-YOU for taking the call of our Lord seriously and offering your most precious gift, yourself and your time.
Fr. Bill