66, Aske Road
Tel No. (01642) 490700
email : [email protected]
Welcome to the website of St Peter’s Church in Redcar. We hope that you will discover all you need to know from the information here but the best way to get to know a church is by visiting. Whether you choose to pop in one lunchtime for a time of quiet and to light a candle; or if you would like to come along to one of the services, please be assured that there will be a warm welcome awaiting you.
I believe that as Christians we need lots of opportunity to join together to worship God, explore the bible and learn about our faith whilst sharing in social activities, providing a place to build relationships and friendships. This is what church is for and throughout a year St Peter’s offers all of those opportunities.
We also take very seriously our commitment to care for the community and the wider world. Locally we support the Churches Together Foodbank and there are regular events to raise money for charity.
You are welcome to come along at any time.
VICAR'S LETTER FOR OCTOBER
Some time ago I had a conversation with a gentleman who had returned to church following many years of absence, and he was not happy! His complaint was that he didn’t know the hymns, the words of the prayers were different, and that there was at one point clapping during a hymn. I recall the conversation clearly because I did not want to upset him so bit my tongue but I’ve often thought about it. Why would anyone expect anything to stand still and remain the same? Surely change and development is a constant in life otherwise things would become stagnant and boring, and why should the church be any different. Methods of education and teaching, choices of music change, food preferences, fashion, shape of cars, everything changes and so do aspects of the church.
The constants of the church will always stay the same; the forever promise that God is with us, the message of good news that invites all people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, the promise of God’s Holy Spirt and the support for living the Christian life that we find in the words of the bible will not change. However, the organisation of the church must change to meet the demands of the present time.
I’m only speaking of the Church of England which has embraced change over recent years, change which I hope people see as being for the good. Services using modern language, women priests and bishops, contemporary music, relaxed attitudes to children, collaborative ministry between priests and lay folk are all intended to open the church and to make the Christian faith more easily accessible.
What is not so obvious to many is the way the finances of the church are organised. You may recall that in the York Diocese, of which St Peters is a part, the way financial contributions are made was changed a few years ago.
It used to be that the diocesan budget was calculated and then each church would be asked for a percentage of that money, the ‘parish share’; however, things changed and we went to a new system of ‘freewill offering’. Now a parish calculates what they can contribute to the common diocesan purse and of their own freewill pledge that amount to the diocese. It is a system that relies on the generosity of parishes to give as much as they can which becomes a part of the whole to be redistributed to support ministry throughout the diocese. The majority of the money is used to finance clergy. Of course the system only works if parishes really are as generous as they can be and that depends entirely on the generosity of those who contribute to the local church. Some churches in the diocese will be in wealthy areas and some in places of poverty and others, rather like St Peter’s, will be somewhere in the middle. The wonderful thing about the system is that every area, rich or poor, will have access to a priest, not just those who could fully pay for one. Our diocesan belief and trust in the freewill offer depends on the generosity of individuals and of churches.
Generosity is not another word for ‘what we can afford’, generosity is about stretching ourselves as a reflection of the generosity of our God to us, the children of God. As children of God we have free access to love and absolute acceptance of who we are, the free gift of forgiveness and, of course, the absolute gift of love – Jesus Christ who gave his life that we might be reunited to our Heavenly Father. All this has been freely gifted to us and all we are asked to give in return is our love and faithfulness but as a part of the church I believe we need to give generously in all aspects of our lives. Our love and compassion for others, our time, skills and talents and, yes, our resources too. The church has changed in some ways but the generosity of God is ongoing, unchanging, constant.
Your friend and vicar