From the Ley Group Team with Love
What an amazing achievement for the Lionesses to reach the final of the World Cup! It seems hard to believe that between 1921 and 1971 there was a ban on women playing football on FA pitches and grounds in England. Now, thankfully, the women’s game continues to go from strength to strength.
One of the things I most admired in watching some of the matches in this year’s World Cup was the way in which the women worked so well together as a team. There was a patience in carefully passing from one to another to build up towards the final goal, where it was less about the individual scorer and more about the whole team effort.
The traditional model of having just one vicar for one particular parish or benefice is being re-thought and re-imagined in many places. There can be a great strength and a release of new potential in combining forces and working much more as a team. This is our hope and vision in forming a Mission & Ministry Partnership across the Ley Group of churches, incorporating Ansley (St Laurence & St John’s), Arley (St Wilfrid’s & St Michael’s), Fillongley and Corley. Instead of just one vicar, we have a team of clergy to support this partnership. Revd Steve Medley is based in Fillongley whilst offering ministry across the whole group. Revd Jo Parker is a curate at St Giles, Exhall but also licensed to minister in the Ley Group of Churches. Then there’s me, Revd Gail Phillip, as priest-in-charge of the Ley Group whilst also continuing ministry as vicar of St Giles.
Hopefully you’ll have opportunities to meet us all over time and we’re looking forward to getting to know more and more people in these various communities, working together with all the existing and very dedicated team of volunteers who already do so much to enhance the life of both church and community. The latest 59th Ansley Flower Festival has been just another example of the effect great teamwork can have. Our thanks must go to everyone involved in making it happen and to all those who took the time to come and visit.
I have memories of Ansley from when I was quite young. I was born and grew up just down the road in Nuneaton and became a Christian through friends at secondary school. My faith in Jesus has been encouraged and nurtured through various local churches over the years. I have always loved the sense of inter-generational family, belonging and connectedness which has been my experience of church.
In the Bible, the church is sometimes described as being like a body with many parts, where every part is vital to the effective functioning of the whole. This is another image of teamwork, of how much we need one another in community, particularly when we’re aware that so many feel lonely and isolated. I learnt a lot more about teamwork and belonging in community when I was a Mission Partner in Thailand for almost ten years. From my Thai friends, I learnt the value in prioritising relationship over task, even if this meant slowing the pace of life down somewhat. People rarely found themselves alone and, even in some of the poorest places, where people would have little or no money, they would join forces to bring whatever produce they had so that everyone could share a meal.
We’d really value your support as a team around this new Mission & Ministry partnership and we’d love to see more people becoming involved. We’d also like to warmly invite you to a special Licensing and Commissioning service where we’ll be officially launching the partnership. This will take place on Saturday 16th September at 2.30 pm at St Mary’s in Fillongley. Everyone is welcome and we hope to see you there!