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Sadberge Parish Plan

LETTER FROM THE REV. PAUL NEVILLE

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This note contains the text of a letter from the Rector of St. Andrew's Church to the Parish Plan Open Meeting on Monday 27th November 2006.

Firstly, I would like to state that I am very committed to Sadberge, as the Rector.  Secondly, it must be said that my predecessor was priest in charge and part time, and not the Rector as some have thought.
The C of E has, and is changing beyond recognition.  Long gone are the days when you would have one priest in one parish.  In that respect; we are extremely fortunate that I have only two parishes.  Many of my colleges have three and in some cases seven.
The 'net effect' is that I have a wider responsibility and more to do.  Currently there are five aspects to my job.
  1. I am Rector of St Andrew Sadberge.
  2. Rector of St Laurence & St George, MSG.
  3. I am Chaplain and Governor to St George's School.
  4. In my second year I was made Chaplain to the Durham Tees Valley Airport.
  5. I work for the Bishop as a Diocesan vocations advisor.
This workload is common place for many clergy these days and there are many reasons for this.
  1. Not enough Clergy.
  2. Finance.
The Church is no different than any other large institution in that more is required from fewer and fewer people.  The truth is that we are not going to be able to be the church the way we once were, with the Vicar living in the single parish with only one community to care for.
All this means that I am spread more thinly than I would like, and often trying to decide what the priorities are and having to make those decisions, a little bit like this evening.  All I can say about the implications for Sadberge is that all of us need to take on board that things have changed and this is the way things are now.  I am only one person doing the work of two full time priests.  What I can say is that I will ensure for as long as I am the Rector that the opportunity to worship together Sunday by Sunday and supporting the sick and needy will be my main priority.
The financial pressures are greater now than ever before, it amazes me that a we manage to maintain (on a shoe string budget) the historic buildings that we all enjoy in this country, of which we receive no governmental support.  This is a real problem which will need a wider community involvement if we are going to ensure that the church will be viable for the future generations in Sadberge.
The church costs approximately 30,000 per year, and we are covering our costs only because of what little reserves we have, this cannot go on for long.
I am always heartened by the support of the people of Sadberge when we put on special events or make an appeal, but what we need is a greater consistent giving to the church if we are to continue to make St. Andrew's a vibrant place of Christian worship, at the same time holding tightly to its place in the history of the village.
Can I see a time when Sadberge would be unable to pay its way?  The truthful answer to that question based on current audited figures is Yes!  Unless we do something as a community now.  I can only see a way forward in this if the wider community come together and take some ownership and responsibility of St Andrew's, after all it is your church, it belongs to you.
I am sorry that I can't be there this evening, but I am deeply grateful to you for the opportunity to share truthfully with you the worries and concerns I have over the future of the church in Sadberge.
Kind Regards
Rev Paul
Rector

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