Associate Priest’s AGM Report – 2022

Bishop Nick has repeatedly mentioned this quote from the well-known management consultant and writer Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” What this means is that, although strategy is important, culture has a greater influence on the success and health of organisations.

Over the past two years, while I have been at the helm of St.Mark’s, we have worked hard to develop a culture of inclusivity — where all are welcomed no matter what age, sex, gender, race, or socioeconomic background. We have shaped our worship and ministry around this inclusivity and, although some changes were borne through necessity, we have proactively sought to implement changes that help foster an inclusive culture. And, on the whole, it is working. We are experiencing the early signs of church growth. Our church membership is up and we have new members joining, and notably, people who have not previously been members of any church in Bermuda.

Helen and I are indebted to the wonderful support of the members of St.Mark’s for enabling us to be free to grow and develop the worship and ministry here. We have been encouraged and supported by some remarkable individuals. Thank you!

Looking back over the past year, there have been many highs and lows. Lows include the passing of long-standing members such as Rosemary Outerbridge, Nell Johnston, Joan Petty, and Albert Dyer. We will miss them all very much. Highs include marriage preparation and weddings for two couples including our own Kelly and Angus and the dedication of Brielle. In terms of improvements, we have made repairs to the main sanctuary building, painted, and installed new strip lighting and campus Wi-Fi. The renovated rose windows will soon be reinstalled. Over the summer we rented the main sanctuary to enable a holiday club to take place and installed hot water, a new sink and a toilet! We have made massive inroads into ‘downing our debt’ which has included refinancing our loan and reducing the capital to $280,000. In November 2021, I started writing a short message in the Royal Gazette that goes out each Saturday. One of the articles was shared over 2500 times! We had one of the most successful Christingle services to date, and have settled into a new pattern of worship with some folk willing to return to in-person worship at 8am and ensuring that children are included every week at 9.30am. Other notable events include our outdoor praise parties, our joint Lent course, and our worship, music, and prayer videos gaining a wide audience on YouTube. Thank you to everyone that has made the mission and ministry of St. Mark’s possible.

The next two years of the life of St.Mark’s will be twofold. Firstly, it will be to continue to build on the work we have started; to continue to develop a culture of inclusivity, and nurture and manage the growth we are experiencing. Every new member of our family is precious and important, and we need to ensure they are loved and supported as they explore and express their faith. Secondly, we need to focus on the wider strategy and the organisational aspect of St.Mark’s. We need to put succession planning in place and effectively manage the business and administrative parts of the organisation.

To this end, it is vital we build a vestry with the skills and expertise to manage the growth and development of St.Mark’s. As well as people with pastoral and hospitality skills, we need people with business, financial, and strategic skills. We will need wisdom as to how best manage and develop our resources and remove the immense pressure that is falling on the shoulders of a handful of selfless and hard-working volunteers.

We want St.Mark’s to be a thriving, lively, all-age, and inclusive church family that — in the same way that our building spire is visible across the parish — shines like light to bless the community; both proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord and being witnesses to his love. God is working through us and his presence is being felt far and wide. In the words of Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Amen!