Our Minister is the Reverend Peter Hibberts and he joined us in the September of 2016. He was a school teacher before joining the ministry and still loves to work with families and schools as well as folk of all ages!
He is married to Katie and has four children: Ellie (11), Olivia (8), Joseph (4) and Daisy (1)
You can contact him directly by email or by telephone (01636 812166)
A welcome from our Minister
I'd like to personally welcome you to our website and thank you for stopping by. We'd love to meet with you in person and connect with you in some way. It would be great to see you at one of our events or services where you are sure to get a very warm welcome.
Minister's Monthly Message
Half way there?
This week a FaceBook memory came up on our computer that reminded us that it was three years to the day since we first visited Southwell, prior to moving here. Boy does that seem like a long time ago! As the stationing is generally for five years, this issue of contact will be published at exactly our half-way point in this stationing. It seems a poignant moment to reflect and to take stock.
The last two years have seen massive upheaval for us as a family but, that said, this feels like home and I, personally, can’t imagine being anywhere else. It’s also been quite a journey for us as a church.
When we were stationed our letter of understanding invited us to use our God-given gifts to build families work and outreach to grow the church (though not in so many words). In the words of the Church of England growing the church ‘wider, younger, deeper’. It’s not a bad aim. We know that without younger folk this church only has a limited future - ‘we neglect youth at our peril’ as an experienced local preacher once told me. But also it’s not a bad aim to widen the ministry of the church and deepen our own faith. I would hope that we, as a church family, feel that we’ve been doing that in the last two years (though it’s very much a work in progress and so much more is to be done).
I appreciate that it hasn’t all been smooth and we haven’t got it all right by any means. I’ve certainly appreciated God’s grace, and the grace and support of our church family, throughout. That said, some have felt something of a rebirth in our church, in the last few years whilst others have felt something of a white knuckle ride and some may even feel like they miss some things that perhaps don’t figure as prominently as they once did. It also been a difficult time for many and for us a church family with illness and deep loss. I’m so grateful for our whole church family as we support one another and the work of the pastoral team as a growing church must all take part in its pastoral care, not just those with a specific role or a dog collar!
This all leads me to reflect, also, on what we hope to achieve in the next two and a half years - and beyond - and how we are going to achieve that. I think the church can easily be paralleled with the National Health Service. There are many elements of the church (in general) which are no longer fit for purpose but tell us much of where we’ve come from and who we are; but change is not easy, in short it’s very hard work. It’s a little like walking up a down escalator: to stand still is in fact a backward motion, to walk only maintains a stagnant position and to move up we must almost run. I hope the last two years has left folk feeling excited for our future and indeed hopeful, but it will no doubt leave us also feeling, at times, disorientated and understandably fatigued. But we have no better time to go for growth than now; none of us are getting younger and though none of us are as young or energetic as we might recall, we are also younger and more energetic than we will be in five or ten years time. Our opportunities to grow will become harder and less frequent making it all the more important to take them whilst we can.
The other parallel I can see with the National Health Service is that it is an organisation that exists for all, not just for those working inside it. If doctors and nurses had, at the top of their agenda, how best to make the hospitals and clinics work for themselves and engineered wonderful conditions to be a doctor or a nurse, they would not be doing a good job. That’s why so much time is spent considering the patient experience to improve that, sometimes to the detriment of the comfort of the doctors and nurses - it’s about patient led care. What would that look like in a church scenario? Well, if we build a church that suits those of us who are already here, somehow believing ourselves to be the recipients of God’s mission, then we are not disciples and will not see the church grow. Instead we must move into discipleship by seeing ourselves not as recipients of God’s mission but responsible for it. We need to move from seeing ourselves not as recipients of worship but responsible for it, and so on. That’s discipleship. It doesn’t mean that doctors and nurses don’t work hard on their continued development and we must not neglect our walk with God: it is through our connection with God and in the power of God’s Holy Spirit that we can do more than we could otherwise ever ask or imagine.
In the next two years we need to work hard to build on the initiatives that we have seen attract more young families, build better links with our schools and take our worship in deeper directions. We need to build teams that will make these ministries sustainable and able to grow. We need everyone to dig in. We can’t all move chairs and tables, we can't all stand at the front and lead a session or a group, we can’t all sing or play an instrument but we can all make our contribution and take our responsibility for God’s mission seriously. If you don’t know what your part is, please talk to me and we’ll explore that together, perhaps over a tea or coffee. The church does not have passengers or spectators any more than a plough does.
It may be half way through our first stationing as minister and family, but there is no half-way point really, I feel like there’s so much more that God has in store for us as a church and feel so grateful of a church family who are keen to see God move. Thank you for all your support so far and I pray that God will continue to lead us into new pastures and that we will all have the strength and courage to follow.
Rev. P. Hibberts
FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION AND PREVIOUS MONTHLY MESSAGES HEAD TO THE MINISTER'S BLOG 'BEYOND REASON 315'.