A message from Rev Justin Groves:
This has been a difficult and challenging road for all of us as we have come together as a single Benefice. It has raised more questions and provided in many ways less answers than we all hoped for.
There has been a lot of coming and going with our meagre resources stretched to the limit. This is true for all three churches but I am aware too that this is especially true for St Thomas’, particularly on Sunday mornings, and I am happy now that we are making some progress towards more continuity. Much of what has happened has caught me by surprise and has been out of our hands. But we must now look to the future and where appropriate and possible make our own decisions so that we can plan for both growth in numbers and in missional work across Newport West. Much of the future for St Thomas’ is still dependant on the ministry area of Newport West as a whole and what happens when hopefully the very long process finally begins again!
Wednesday Communions at 10 am have been a source of encouragement and have drawn a small group of us from the three churches together in friendship and worship. Please come if you can and encourage others to attend too.
Wednesday Communion at 10 am:
1st in the month at St Stephen’s
2nd in the month at St Thomas’
3rd in the month at St Stephen’s
4th in the month at St Paul’s
(5th in the month at St Stephen’s)
Update on the possible merger of St Paul’s and St Stephen’s
Let me give you the background to why we are where we are. St Paul’s have pursued the purchase of their current home prayerfully and passionately. At present all potential routes to this end have sadly come to nothing and we are somewhat exhausted by the process. If God wants us to have this building He will have to make a way where there seems to be no way forward. In the meantime we must prepared for next year when the lease runs out in October.
St Stephen’s has faithfully sought to keep their building open and welcoming for regular worship. But, like everywhere else numbers have very slowly declined and bills and costs have rapidly increased.
What would a merger look like?
What we have been exploring so far is the uniting of the City Centre and Pill to make one parish with (for now) one church building, one PCC, one bank account BUT two different worshipping congregations sharing the church building of St Stephen’s.
What happens next?
Following a joint meeting of both PCCs on the 28th October and the 17th November, the PCCs of both churches have agreed formally to work towards a single united parish. The merger needs to happen from a Diocesan/CiW perspective in time for a single Annual Vestry Meeting in April 2019.