St Peter & St Paul

South Petherton, with the Seavingtons

and the Lambrooks

Letter from the Right Reverend Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells
For Parish Newsletters - August 2017

In a magazine recently I read about a distance learning course being offered by St. John’s College in Nottingham specifically for Church Administrators. It combines study alongside working, takes about 18 months, and leads to a Certificate in Christian Studies. Those who have completed the course speak of how not only has it transformed their way of working, but how it changed the way others within the church perceived them and the work that they do. I found that really encouraging.

All churches are dependent on the skills, gifts and talents of church members offering their time and expertise to help build up the Church. Valuing, appreciating and developing those God-given gifts is so important. When Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth he said; ‘Now to each one has been given the Spirit’s gifts for the good of all.’ (1 Corinthians Chapter 12) He then goes on to give examples of those gifts. He mentions prophecy and healing, preaching and teaching, leadership and tongues and many others. But tucked away in that list of gifts and ministries we read that God has appointed people with the ability ‘to help others and those with gifts of administration’. Administrators are mentioned in the same list as apostles, miracle workers and prophets.

Although as anyone who has ever been involved in Church work knows administrators often are ‘miracle workers’ ensuring that all the necessary administrative tasks of the church are done efficiently and effectively. The word Paul uses for ‘administrator’ is the same word that is used for a pilot of a ship, whose task it is to steer the ship safely through the rocks and the shoals to the harbour. Administrators seldom stand in the limelight, they work in the background and shoulder the routine but essential work on which everything else depends.

We don’t always know who counts the collection, produces the service sheets, takes the minutes, or staples the church magazine together. But God knows and without all those people the mission of the church would not go forward as it does. Hurrah for administrators.

The Right Reverend Peter Hancock

Bishop of Bath and Wells