Achievements- Last year . Details of the mission & life of our church.

EBENEZER METHODIST CHURCH Achievements in 2021

2021 has been a year of ups and downs. We welcomed new life into our Church as we celebrated the baptism of two grandsons of members of our congregation, James in June and Otis in September. Rev Dawn also led a wedding and baptism service for one of our Pickles families in October. On a sad note, we lost two faithful members in November; Mazel Le Ruez and John Green. Mazel was our organist for some time and John a former Church and Property Steward and wonderful supporter of Ebenezer over many years.

The year began with continued Covid restrictions when our indoor activities were on hold once again. Worship in Church, with some restrictions, resumed with our Covenant Service led by Rev Dawn on 7th March.

When the weather permitted, our Pickles community met at Millbrook Park to maintain their all-important links. When things started to open up again in the spring, we were restricted to a maximum of 10 children which resulted in some very quiet sessions, and it was wonderful to return to the buzz of our ‘new normal’ of 20 children at the end of April. On 9 th July, we shared in a joyful graduation celebration in the Church for those children moving on to their respective nursery schools.

Pickles Plus sessions also resumed at the end of April and keeps our more mature Pickles community connected with ‘after school’ craft activities for the children and genuine support and chats for the grown-ups. Our family friendly monthly service ‘Friends@4’ was broadcast online until the end of the summer term and a huge thank you to Rev Danny Wheadon for his wonderful creative talents in recording the children’s stories in such an entertaining way. Indeed, they proved so engaging that we have kept the audio-visual recording of the story, even when we began to meet face to face in the Church in September.

Because of the increased risk of infection when school children mix with the elderly, we decided it was sensible to delay the return of Generations. However, we organised a soup lunch in the Church on 11th June, to bring our seniors together, which was extremely well received and appreciated. It was wonderful to eventually get back together with the children and seniors once a month from September.

Our sincere thanks to both Amy and Kirsty who not only run our groups and communities, but also do a marvellous job in actively supporting some of our families behind the scenes, very quietly and carefully when the need arises. The girls both attended and passed a paediatric first aid course in June, which was funded by the Circuit as part of their Learning & Development focus. Amy also attended a 2-day mental health awareness course delivered by an instructor at Mind Jersey in September and gained a MHFA- England certificate.

Whilst Covid 19 has presented many challenges, it has also afforded the opportunity for us to refocus, look at new opportunities and ask ourselves ‘What is God now calling us to do?’ In March, the Leadership team looked at what we had gained and lost as a result of the pandemic and what we might want to retain and develop. What emerged was a desire for us to be personally enriched with God’s love so that we might share it with people where they are in the community. This subtle development has been reflected in our Mission Statement.

As part of our faith enrichment, we have been continuing our fortnightly bible study via Zoom, ably led by Rev Derek. We have studied John’s gospel and various topics, including different women in the Bible. Discussion normally ensues after Derek’s teaching, and there has been some good conversations, including those from Nicola Jones who joins us from Glasgow.

Our Minister, Rev Nico, returned from her sabbatical in May, but sadly experienced health issues and has been on sick leave since August. With great support from the Circuit and our Leadership team, we have enjoyed a number of highlights at Ebenezer during the year. These have included; the feedback from those who received our Easter crosses created by our Pickles community, the Circuit Maundy Thursday service, Easter Day led by 2 Rev Debbie and Ruth Picot sharing her occupation and liberation memories at our Ecumenical Service on 9th May. And at Christmas, our children (and adults!) enjoyed our first Pantivity (a hybrid of a Pantomime and Nativity) in the Church on 12th December, with some memorable moments including Rev Dawn dressed up as Angel Betty and our little shepherd James who started patting the donkey (he obviously looked real!). To round off the year, we had a wonderful Carol service, which included Rev Dawn leading us in singing the ’12 days of Christmas’ in a most memorable way!

It has been wonderful to have some friends from Eden who join us on a regular basis for Sunday worship. Special thanks must go to Mel who each week comes up with a wonderful craft activity that ties in with the theme of service and keeps our young people engaged. Some marvellous outputs have been celebrated.

We continued our links with the URC throughout the year, meeting with them on the third Sunday of the month. The URC has been very accommodating in providing a minister or lead for the services, which has helped the resourcing challenges of the Circuit. We were delighted to welcome our friends from the URC at Ebenezer for our Harvest on 3rd October and Carol Service on 19th December.

We are a strong church financially and blessed to have income from the flat, car park spaces and for the commercial let of the hall to Baby Sensory. It now costs c.£44,000pa to cover our routine annual costs and salaries. It is likely that our regular giving will fall short of our future circuit assessment as our membership numbers decline and the importance of the covenant scheme, where we can reclaim tax, becomes ever more important. On a positive note, our annual Gift Day raised £2,540 which was a large increase on the previous year.

We continue to make donations as part of our ‘window to the world’ initiative. This included the British Red Cross Afghanistan Appeal, Dementia Jersey, the Poppy Appeal, Jersey Women’s Refuge, Brighter Futures Jersey and the All We Can Haiti Earthquake Appeal. We contributed £500 to the Connexion pension shortfall and increased our Connexional donations. Our Pickles community raised funds for the BBC Children in Need Appeal, Macmillan Jersey and also arranged a special collection for the family of a young mum who died in the autumn, leaving 2 young twins. Our congregation also generously donated items of food and toiletries throughout the year, which were delivered at regular intervals to Jersey Women’s Refuge.

On the property front, almost every item in our quinquennial report has been addressed, which means our buildings are in good order. Our Church is being used more frequently for community activities and by outside organisations. The Jersey Youth Performing Arts (JYPA) rehearsed weekly from last Spring to Autumn and again in December and Trinity WI has been holding their monthly meetings in Church whilst the Parish Hall has been unavailable. Our Hall is fully booked during the week of school term time.

We applied to the Fiscal Stimulation Fund for a grant for our new ‘refreshment area’ in Church and we were delighted that this was accepted to a value of £11,000. Our thanks to Peter Warren for creating the plans which have been approved and we anticipate the work will start in Q1 2022. The new front vestibule store is currently on hold.

We are forever grateful to our Leadership team; Michael, Anne, Ian and Jane for their commitment, wisdom and hard work, to our lay workers; Amy and Kirsty, and to all other members of the Church who hold office. It has been a challenging year, but we give thanks for all that is past and trust God for all that is to come.

This, this is the God we adore, 'Tis Jesus, the First and the Last, Our faithful, unchangeable Friend; Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home; Whose love is as great as his power, We'll praise him for all that is past, And neither knows measure nor end. And trust him for all that's to come.

ROSEMARY PARKER          February 2022