Both our bishops were present at the official launch of the Pattern Church on Thursday evening. (Bishop Viv had been to James Wilks House the day before, so she is getting used to coming to Swindon.) Joel was officially licensed as Senior Leader and the wider team was introduced. The Rev Caf Smith had arrived in Swindon just the day before. She is now Assistant Minister at the Pattern Church and will in fact be living in our parish, in the house that was previously occupied by the vicar at St Andrews before Sally. The house is just opposite St Francis School. Joel was joined onstage by the administrator/events manager, and an ordinand – someone currently in training for the ministry. They will be joined in the summer by a curate.
It feels like a lot of people for one church! And it really is. But that is the nature of resourcing churches. It is all about investing heavily both in buildings and in people in order to produce great results in the end. It is not all plain sailing. They will need our prayers. The building requires a great deal of work. More importantly, the aim is especially to grow a church which reaches young people. Until now Resourcing Churches have opened in university cities or towns. So starting off in a town with little tertiary education will not make that task any easier.
Six members of our congregation have decided to join the Pattern Church. They are Paul and Sarah Barton, Oldi and Lara and sisters, Judith and Christine who joined us last year. It goes without saying, I hope, that we have parted friends, wish them well in their new fellowship.