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The Octagon Parish

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Doing Your Bit




Although, as John Betjeman observed, “it gets the trouble over quicker to go and blame things on the vicar”, the times are long past when we can leave everything to the paid professional.  Neither can we assume that there will always be a paid professional to do everything.  Like everything else, the church is changing rapidly, and changing in a number of different ways.  In days gone by, there was one or more priest in each of England’s 13000 parishes; nowadays there are only 9000 paid clergy and 2000 unpaid, and even these numbers are expected to fall significantly in the next ten years.  We cannot continue as we are, expecting that a vicar will always be there for our parishes.

 

Of course, all of us can get more involved in our churches. God calls everyone who loves him into some kind of service. There are many tasks to be done, from cleaning the brass, mowing the churchyard, arranging flowers, playing the organ, reading lessons, and acting as sidesmen. If you are more of a committee person, in addition to the Parochial church council each of our parish churches has its own local committee with a treasurer and a secretary, and they are always looking for new members. We can all play our part in “keeping the show on the road”. The Diocese of Chichester has published a useful set of leaflets describing what is involved in being a PCC member, a PCC Secretary, or even a Churchwarden.You can see them by clicking HERE

 

But few of us ever stop to ask ourselves if God wants us to play a more significant part in our church.  Is there a little voice at the back of our minds, which perhaps we have been trying to silence for a long time, telling us that God is calling us into a more formal kind of ministry? If so, there are many options to consider.

 

One is to join a religious order.  Many people are surprised to learn that there are still communities of men and women within the Anglican church who voluntarily commit themselves for life (or a term of years) to holding their possessions in common, to a celibate life in community, and to obedience to the Rule of their order. Attached to some orders there are also lay people known as tertiaries, who, though following ordinary professions, are called to a dedicated life of service to our Lord through prayer, study, and work.

 

Starting in October 2017, you could become an Authorised Lay Minister (ALM). ALMs share in the public ministry of the local church, as they serve their local parishes. ALM ministry takes many different forms depending upon the parish base, but in general ALMs work within or establish a team of people working in an area of ministry and they also work to encourage and develop the gifts of others. ALMs are ‘authorised’ by the Bishop to exercise a particular ministry within their local parish. Their authorisation does not extend beyond the parish into the wider diocese. They do not hold the Bishop’s licence and their authorisation is not transferable to another diocese.

 

Another choice is to become a Reader (known in some dioceses as a Licensed Lay Minister).  Readers are unpaid volunteers who, after selection and training, are licensed by their bishop to preach, teach, and lead certain services.  There are now over ten thousand Readers in the Church of England, both men and women, and they perform a vital role, not only in parishes but in a number of other areas such as hospitals and prisons. 

 

And, of course, God calls men and women into his service as priests.  Nowadays the Church of England welcomes a wide range of traditions, personalities and backgrounds.  All sorts of very different people are selected for ordained ministry, bringing invaluable gifts and experiences to help them do enormously varied, exciting and challenging jobs.  Some choose to remain as a parish priest all their life; others may work as chaplains or in other specialised ministries such as work with young people, evangelism, community projects or the media.  Some work full-time as priests, while others combine their ministry with their day job and are unpaid. 

 

If you have a feeling that God is calling you to do more with your life, now is the time to act on it.  You can talk to any of the clergy in complete confidence. Or, if you’re not ready to do that yet, click here to find out about the exciting opportunities God may have in mind for you.

 

If you would like to volunteer for something that is not connected with the church:

  1. Click here to go to the volunteer vacancies website www.do-it.org.uk
  2. Type in your post code and/or your area of interest and press Search to find the opportunities available in your area.
  3. Click on the opportunity for more details and press Apply Now to complete a form and to submit your application.

 

 

Whatever you volunteer for, click here for more details on how to be a blood donor. It doesn't hurt and you could save someone's life. 

 

And whether you volunteer for anything or not, if you are a UK tax payer, PLEASE complete a Gift Aid envelope when you make ANY donation to the church, as this gives us an extra 28% of what you so generously donate (and work very hard for).  Why not take one home with you after a church service to use next time you visit? For further details on how Gift Aid works click here


And finally, please remember the Octagon in your will! For more information on how to leave a legacy to the Octagon, please see the Octagon Legacy Policy on the Parish Policies page.

All original material on this website is Copyright © 2014 The Octagon PCC