Happy new year to everyone. It’s always good to review a past year and look forward to a new one.
2011 was generally a “good year” for me and mine. The economy may have been tanking, the world was in turmoil but there have been some really positive things last year.
At home the family have been doing well (not allowed to say much more as they don’t like me talking about them here – but believe me there has been major relief on my part!). The break in Italy to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries in August was an amazing time. It included a week on retreat at the end of it.
The Church has been growing and changing. We have seen the second congregation (started in the last part of 2010 in the Roundshaw estate) double last year with virtually all new people coming from the estate itself. The Wallington Girls congregation has also grown and just about replaced all those who left to form the new congregation. The new congregation set out only providing children’s work but now finds that it will need to grapple with how to provide a youth work element.
Our links with RUSH have grown over the past year with a team of us going to visit in February. This was followed by Wendy Littlemore becoming a trustee of RUSH and the Bain family going over to visit RUSH in the autumn.
Other exciting things last year in the church was the arrival of Donna as our new curate and with her arrival and the number of young adults around we have been able to launch our new Emerge ministry for young adults. Already we have run an alpha course where most of the attendees were young adults and we are seeing a new cell group being launched after Christmas that will be young adult dominated.
So, what about this coming year?
Well I see that I will likely carry on blogging. Some months are likely to have more time to blog than others. But there are a number of high points this coming year:
Firstly, it is the 20th anniversary of Springfield and we will have a number of great events in the year. Two in particular I am really looking forward to. Firstly, Rowan Williams is coming to help us celebrate with us on the 18th March. ++Rowan has always been a keen advocate of Fresh Expressions and it is a great encouragement for us to have him join us. Then on Sunday 3rd June we are celebrating the Queen’s diamond jubilee with a Big Lunch. We have already ordered a load of fun things (and hoping for more) but it is a chance to come together and celebrate with friends, family and neighbours not only the Queen (may have a republican corner!) but also being community.
I am also looking forward to more cells being launched this year as more people join us, the growth and establishment of Emerge, as well as the launch of one or two River ministries (these are ministries that reach out into the community and start there rather than a come to us approach).
There is another visit planned to RUSH in February to see all that is going on there and to go and encourage and be encourage them in all that they do.
Then there are all the regulars of the year to enjoy – Holiday Club, New Wine, a film around Christmas (the Hobbit anyone?) etc
The big challenge for us as a church this year will be finance. Our reserves can take us through this year but that is all. We will need a serious chat about finances together as a church this year.
Anyway, some facts and figures about the blog last year.
On the first full year of my blog there have been over 62,000 page views (excluding those viewing it from RSS – no I don’t know why this is either!) which is an average of 170 per day.
The top 5 searches for my blog were:
francesca stavrakopoulou (and variants) – she was the academic who presented the BBC’s Bible’s Buried Secrets
Margaret Thatcher (weird this one – I had a picture in a post about her and that was enough for hundreds of searches to find my blog)
pope benedict xvi
The top 5 referrers for my blog were:
Springfield Church website
The top 5 posts for the blog were:
Steve Jobs and the importance of leadership
Will Jesus return on the 21st May at about 6pm?
Review – Bible’s buried secrets – Did King David’s Empire exist?
Review – Chronicles of Narnia – Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Famous, Rich and in the Slums – part 2
The top 5 clicks from the blog were:
There is always a surprise for me how you can be writing about various things and then something happens and suddenly people are googling and your site gets hundreds of hits. It happened in the spring with the post “Will Jesus return on the 21st May at about 6pm?” I wrote the article in March and then in May the stats went haywire as the story went big around the world. Similarly, and maybe less surprising, has been the Steve Jobs post after he died in the autumn.
Then there is the comments that people leave. Always fun to have and sometimes it can bring about real debate. The top 5 most commented on posts last year were:
Will Jesus return on the 21st May at about 6pm? (with 64 comments)
The dangerous prophecy of Lance Lambert (with 40 comments – hit a raw nerve with some and some still coming in every now and again)
Review – Bible’s buried Secrets – The real garden of Eden (with 38 comments – not my best review in the series but it certainly led to a passionate debate about the series by Francesca Stavrakopoulou – the series was rather sensationalised and not as good as I hoped it would be)
Review of Love Wins by Rob Bell
Bains family arrived in Kenya
May you and yours have a blessed year in 2012.