29 Church Street, Hamilton, Bermuda HM CX

St. Mark’s

Associate Priest’s Report 2024

By Rev Gav

Helen and I have had another fantastic year at St. Mark’s. The past four years have been about steering our worship in a new direction and re-establishing committees to do the various works we need to do. It has been humbling and exciting to see our congregation grow across all demographics, but particularly with younger families and children.

In this short report, I do not want to reflect too much on where we have been and what we have done (that should be self-evident) other than to say a heartfelt thank you to our colleagues, churchwardens, vestry members, and subcommittee members for their leadership and hard work, along with those who have given their time and money to help make St. Mark’s such a special church. It has been, quite rightly, a team effort.

The big question is ‘What next?’ What do the next five years hold for St. Mark’s?

I have been reminded that we need to ‘dream big’ and not limit what God wants for us and for the Smith’s Parish community, nor limit what God can do through us. We are called to be bringers of God’s kingdom to the here and now, to bring ‘heaven to earth’, and to live out in the present, the restored, redeemed, and renewed future world where heaven and earth overlap. Therefore, what will this mean in practice?

The goal of St. Mark’s is still the same: to enable people to encounter Jesus and be sustained in that encounter. If you have not read our aims and our values, they are on our website! Please, do go and read them, and if you are reading a printed copy of this, I will ask our Vestry Clerk to include them with this report.

As I seek our Lord in prayer, I believe we are called to be a church with messy or blurry edges; to create interfaces between the church and world, places and spaces where people can hear the good news about Jesus Christ and be recipients of God’s love. Church groups are lovely, and secular groups serve their purpose, but we need groups where those that do not yet know Christ can hear about God’s love and experience it first hand. We need church led bereavement support groups, suppers for the lonely, carer and toddler groups, community cafés, and more. And we need to dream big.

Having up to 25 children in our church building on a Sunday morning is great, but what would it look like to have 200 children? What could we do to make our worship accessible to them? Whatever it is, we should go for it.

At one point we had 13 youth gathered in a Youth Room in the church hall. These small numbers have since dwindled, but what would it look like to have hundreds of young people aged 16 to 25 gathered in the church laughing, praising, and learning about God together? Whatever it is, we should go for it.

Our buildings need to adapt to a changing world and be fit for purpose. Remember the film, ‘Field of Dreams’ where Kevin Costner builds a baseball field in the middle of nowhere trusting and believing that famous ghostly baseball players from the past will show up? Well, perhaps we have to do the same thing. Let us develop our spaces in the hope that they will be filled, not with ghosts, but with people encountering Jesus and being sustained in that encounter. Whatever it is, we should go for it.

I am hopeful, that our new Vestry will be people filled with passion and excitement for what God can do, and will throw themselves into our mission and ministry. As theologian Jürgen Moltmann wrote, “The church of God does not have a mission, the God of mission has a church.” This is our moment, our time, and our turn to take the baton and run with it. Whatever ideas you have, God’s ideas are bigger. Whatever passions you have, God’s passions burn stronger. So, let us think great big things and expect great big things from a great big God.