GANC Chairman’s Report September 2020

I’ll begin my report by officially welcoming Pastor Maris Sants as our pastor-in-charge, the necessary paperwork having been finally completed at the beginning of June. Our thanks to Harriet for dealing with most of this. Under normal circumstances, Maris will be coming to Liverpool (he lives in London at present) for communion services on the second and fourth Sundays in the month, and for special services as well. We will continue to have morning prayer on the first Sunday, and no service on the third. As most of you know, we have been having “Zoom” services every Sunday for the last few months, with a small but regular group of participants. If you haven’t given it a try, why not do so – it doesn’t hurt a bit! Maris had started confirmation classes while things were still normal and he is keen to resume them whenever it will be practicable. He is also keen to meet members of our community, so please don’t hesitate to contact him. We also “zoom” socially at 1 pm on Tuesdays. These sessions ae much appreciated and again, there is plenty of room for more “guests”.
It seems a long time ago now, but after the summer break last year, everything was quite normal: we hosted Reformation Sunday with our German friends; on Remembrance Sunday we had a Russian choir; Lasse came from Sweden and took the Advent Sunday service; having Lucia on two separate weekends worked well -”our” version was graced by the presence of our new bishop, Tor and his wife, both of whom were greatly impressed (well done yet again, Cinna!); Christmas Eve was the usual jolly Nordic occasion, as was “julgransplundring” in early January, helped by Teresia from the Swedish church in London. This was her first visit and we sincerely hope it won’t be her last.
We had three baptisms: one Anglo/Icelandic, one Faeroese and one Swedish/ Italian. They all behaved beautifully and we were delighted to welcome them into our church family.
At the other end of the spectrum, on 15th February we had a memorial service for Anders Malm, a Swedish seaman who had done quite a lot of work for the church in the 1980s. The service was led by his son Andrew, who had been baptized in the church. Several Swedes came over for the occasion, and they all expressed great satisfaction for its continued existence.
We lost one of the last links with the Norwegian church, which closed in 1992, when Andrea Fraser died in mid-March, just a few days after her 100th birthday. Our condolences to Rob and all the family. Also to the family of Inger Eagle, another long-standing member of the Norwegian community.
So the church has been “out of bounds” since mid-March and normality still seems a long way off, partly due to the layout of the building and partly to the average age of those of us who use the place (!). Meanwhile, our finances continue to be well looked after, thanks yet again to Harriet; our secretary, Helen, deals with everything that needs to be done, organist Phil, sadly in isolation at present, still hasn’t missed a service, Ole and Vernissa make sure the church is neat and tidy, and Mette keeps a watchful eye on the flower situation.
One of the casualties of the pandemic was the LCiGB synod, due to be held in Leeds on 25th April. In the event, it was “zoomed” on 27th June, with 34 participants. The agenda was dealt with successfully and we hope ours will be too. Coincidentally, we were due to have a wedding blessing on 27th June. It will now take place in June – next year, hopefully!
My thanks as ever to the loyal members of the church council. In addition to those already mentioned, they are Katrine Vik, Joan Reece and Ulfar Norddahl.
We look forward, with increasing impatience, to the time when we can meet again at “GA” and share our fellowship. Meanwhile, let us stay strong together.
God bless, Stan Royden

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