THE LOOP

One Year On

by | May 6, 2024

On the 13th May 2023, with sweaty palms and a full head, I drove up Green Lane for the first time. Why? I had been invited by the elders here at ECC to come for an all day interview. Later that day, just outside Stockport (heading towards Sheffield) there is a Petrol station where I had stopped on my long return journey back to Norfolk. Here, I also phoned Lorna. In that conversation I said “if they don’t invite me to proceed to the next part of the process I’ll be gutted, as I think this would be a really good fit for us”. Wind the clock on and we’re now a whole year down the road (yes, where has the time gone?)! In that year we’ve sold a house, left Great Yarmouth, moved to Stockport, settled our girls into school, college and a gap year, moved house a few times, bought a house, tried our best to get to know as many people as possible in the church, settled into some of the bread-and-butter things of church life and started to grapple with some of the big and pressing issues such as multisite. To be honest it’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but … a really wonderful one! As a result I wanted to take a moment to look back and reflect upon a few things from this last year. All of this is wrapped up in gratitude to God and to you as our new church family.

GRATITUDE FOR A GOOD ELDERSHIP TEAM

I love team. In fact, I think about almost everything through the lens of teams. As a result, one of my greatest concerns about moving here was ‘how will the eldership work out?’ ‘Honestly, church family, we have so much to give thanks for when it comes to the eldership team. Those guys are a joy to work alongside. They have taken time to help me understand some of the nuances and unique ways that ECC operates. In fact, I suspect there must have been some moments when they were thinking to themselves, ‘come on Adam, catch up’, but they were patient and have helped me to really feel part of the team. I’m also grateful for the way that the team is gelling together; not just to get stuff done, but as friends. We’re trying, in busy lives, to meet as a group with our wives to eat, laugh, pray and talk together. Friendship matters! Too many leaders suffer in isolation. However, God has built a mechanism into the way churches should operate  for this to not be an issue: it’s called team leadership! In addition, we are working on having an increasingly shared sense of how things need to be done around here (the technical term for that is a philosophy of ministry). This takes time but together we are growing and gelling. So I’m grateful to God for Phil, Al, Simon, John and Chris.

GRATITUDE FOR THE MANAGING DEACONS

I’m so grateful for David, Jaap and Simon. These guys have carried an additional load over this last year as they’ve helped us as a family get settled. Through this process they’ve demonstrated to me what servant hearted looks like. When Lorna and I have been a bit wobbly and uncertain, they’ve given of their time and patiently walked through legal and financial stuff with us so that we were able to ‘land’ here in Stockport as well as we have been able. Like I said, I’m so grateful to God for these guys.

THE CHURCH FAMILY

Arriving as a pastor, at a new year, is always a little unnerving. How will it go? Will people welcome us? Will people receive my ministry?… In fact, there are just loads of those types of questions. Add to that fact that we were moving our family at a complicated time, we just had lots of uncertainty. However, you as a church family have made the transition into life at ECC very easy. We have experienced countless kindnesses, from, people taking the time to get to know us, inviting us for a meal, checking in on how the girls are doing, looking out for Lorna, helping us decorate our house, giving us phone numbers for electricians, car mechanics, and washing machine repair people. We’ve also been really amazed at the way you as a church have allowed me to help us start thinking about next steps whilst still so new in the church. This was needed but to me it was a sign of your love and maturity as a church. 

So thank you. We might not yet be fully immersed in life in Stockport and it might take us a while to get to know some of the players at Stockport County (or even what the ground is called!), but we’re many, many steps closer compared to the 13th May 2023.

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