The Community comes to the end of 2021 very grateful for God’s faithfulness and generosity in a year of so much change and uncertainty. In this month’s newsletter, you will read about people on the move, prayer resources and our hopes for the New Year.
We are delighted for Matt Long, our Sub Prior, who will take up a new role in Leicester Diocese as Intergenerational Enabler in January. The team and residents will hugely miss Matt, but we are immensely grateful for the three and a half years that he has filled this role. His wisdom, creativity and playfulness, (‘let’s press the outrageous button!’), have played a huge part in shaping what the Community has become. Matt’s new role will have significant crossover into the work of the Community and we are so glad that he, Bex and the family will continue to journey with us as Companion members of the Community in Leicester.
Given the loss of Matt from the staff, we are now engaged in conversations with the Diocese about how we might reconfigure our team to ensure we are, fully resourced, in the next 6 months and into the future. There are some exciting possibilities emerging and so we trust God and continue to ask for your prayers.
The response to our friends appeal, launched in July, has been so encouraging – we are already a quarter of the way towards our first faith target of 1oo people giving ten pounds a month. Our aim here is to build a more secure base of prayer and financial support for the community. If you would like to become a friend go to leicestertreeoflife.org/give for more information.
We are excited to welcome the Revd Julie Hutchinson onto the team as Chaplain. Julie brings a wealth of experience, particularly in vocations and spiritual direction, and it is good to have additional pastoral and administrative support as we navigate the changes in the next few months.
Our Leicester Companions have continued to journey together, meeting monthly for Rule of Life workshops, prayer and listening groups. Recently, came the announcement that Lusa Ngoy will be the next Bishop of Willesdon. We are thrilled for Mirjam, Lusa and their three children, but sad to be bidding farewell. As founding members of the Community, Mirjam and Lusa have played a hugely significant role in shaping the Community over the past four plus years! We want to say a massive thank you and send them on their way, grateful for their friendship, with much love and our ongoing prayers.
The resident community is flourishing. This term we are larger – with 13 members plus the house team. It is a vibrant place with busy mealtimes, many guests and an abundance of lively cross-cultural and theological conversation. Residents are regularly hosting small groups, worship and prayer in the house – it is so good to see our ministry of hospitality growing.
As we look into the New Year, we sense God drawing us to invest more in our monthly 24 hours of prayer, to share the resources we create more widely and to invite others into creative partnerships with us. You will find resources for December’s prayer day. A sixty-minute prayer guide for ‘Upside-Down December’, which we have created to accompany the Cathedral’s December theme. Watch out in early January for our next prayer resource to support the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25th January).
We wish you a blessed and peaceful Christmas, sending our thanks and prayers,