26th January 2024
I am writing to give you more information on the changes to the staff team that some of you may have heard about during our services last Sunday.
Following the Christmas break three members of staff Michael Sprittles, Paul Bridge and Dan De Grima have independently informed the Leadership Team that they believe God is leading them into a new season of life and ministry this Spring.
Whilst this will come as a surprise to many of you, I do want to re-assure you that the Leadership Team has been aware of the possibility that some staff might be coming to the end of their time with us in 2024 and so some thinking and planning has already been happening. We also are supportive of Dan, Paul and Michael in believing God is in this, for them individually and therefore for us. Some details of our thoughts follow in this letter.
But first the individual stories. Dan, Paul and Michael have shared a sentence or two to describe their thoughts and plans.
Dan has served the Church as our pastoral worker since 2019. Dan and Kimi believe that it is the right time for them as a family to move on, and are seeking God’s leading as to their next steps. We will be praying with Dan, hearing about His and Kimi’s plans and sending him out to his new role in our services, probably on Sunday 18th February. We are immensely grateful for the humble and caring ministry that Dan has given to the church, with quiet wisdom, steadfast commitment and gentle compassion.
Paul has served the church working with children and young people since 2007. After 16 years he now believes that it is the time to move on. He has a sense of there being times and seasons in life and that this season is coming to an end. Beth and he are looking forward to what God has for them in the future as they start another chapter in their lives. They feel they are taking a step of faith and believe that God has a door that he will open for them. As Abraham did not know where he was going when God told him to leave, it was only as he obeyed that the way opened for him, so as they acknowledge God in this, they believe that he will direct their paths. We want to support Paul and Beth in this stepping out. Paul’s last Sunday serving the church will be Easter Sunday, but we will be praying and giving thanks with him the week before on Sunday 24th March. We are tremendously grateful for 16 years of fruitful ministry, Paul has served our youth and children with great energy, humour, conviction and passion. Many children and young people have benefited from his care, example and inspiration.
Michael has served as our site manager since 2017 and has let us know of his intention to retire at the beginning of April. Jayne and Michael are looking at what the new season will look like and where God will lead them, please pray for them as Michael approaches retirement. We will be thanking Michael and praying with Michael for this new chapter of his life together with Jayne on April 7th. We are enormously grateful for Michael’s service and ministry, for his huge servant heart, his quiet efficiency and his ability to do anything for anyone whilst putting them at ease.
We shall greatly miss all three in their contribution to the church, and we recognise that this may feel unsettling to many in the church and yet, because for each individual there is a sense of God leading them to something new, and because we are able to trust in the faithfulness of God and his provision of workers over many years in the past, we are able to look forward with confidence.
The Leadership of the church are always bearing in mind possible changes to staff situations, our appraisals and regular supervision also help us to gauge what developments there might be. Because of this preparedness we are able to outline at this point some plans for the next few months. At our next Church Members’ Meeting on Tuesday February 13th we will give further details on our ideas for the development of the ministry of the church and the staff team.
We have known for some time of the likelihood that Michael might choose to retire in 2024. When the role was first created there was some uncertainty as to how it might look and develop. During his time here, Michael has shaped the role brilliantly. It is felt by both the staff team, leadership and is apparent from the members of the church to be invaluable; the Site Manager role enables the church to run smoothly and helps meeting and events run well. We are hopeful that the role would suit someone from the church and so we propose to begin straight away to look for a replacement – details of the job description and how people might apply are on the website, with this link.
The church has long had a foundational commitment to children and believe in the vital importance of reaching families. Therefore we believe seeking a new Children and Families Worker is a top priority. There are a number of advantages in advertising this role alongside the Youth Worker role, that we believe we need, to support our ministry to teenagers, especially girls, following Sarah Paxton’s return to South Africa in December. Therefore we will bring proposals to the February Church Members’ Meeting to advertise these two roles together as soon as possible after the meeting. It is possible one or both of these roles will be filled from someone outside of Sutton Coldfield who will need to re-locate and it is also essential that we do due diligence to recruit the right people. Therefore we have plans in place to support the Children and Youth ministry for as long as we need to.
We will need extra volunteers, please pray. If you have experience or calling in this area, fulfil all the appropriate safeguarding requirements and could help in the short term please speak to me or email email@example.com
With time the commitments of the other core functions of the church it is not going to be possible to be conducting interviews for 4 or even 5 roles (if we think of the outreach worker) simultaneously, therefore we propose the order of beginning to recruit a Site Manager immediately, then the Children and Families and Youth (both roles) as soon as possible, then pastoral and outreach. As new staff join the team with different strengths, and as the Church develops, it will be good and right at each stage to review the details of each new role we wish to fill.
As regards the pastoral work, the vision of the church has long been to encourage each one of us to care for others with a staff component giving back up and support. The frontline of our care is each other, as we believe in the priesthood of all believers. We will look to bring additional leadership and pastoral support in the months and years to come, but in the meantime, we will be depending on each other to welcome, befriend and care for one other. As with the children’s work if you have time, calling and gifting to visit, befriend or in anyway contribute additionally to our pastoral care, please speak to me.
Finally, can I thank you for your support and prayers. We believe God is in this and with us and we want to follow his plans for us. We ask for patience, when we don’t manage to do all that we had hoped as soon as we had hoped. We ask for help from any who feel they can do a little more. But above all we ask for prayer.
If you have concerns please do speak to me. Some of you will be aware that I usually take my Christmas break at this time. The Leadership Team have urged me to continue with my plans for retreat and rest, so I am afraid if you do email me it will be a couple of weeks before I am able to reply.
With huge thanks for your support,
Grace and Peace,
Donald (On behalf of the Leadership Team)