Phebe Tay

We all remember when the Covid pandemic hit. It was about that time when I was asked if I would consider taking up the Parochial Church Council (PCC) Secretary role in 2020. I said “no”. However, through the persuasion of our then Vicar, Will Stileman, and prayerfully considering the ministry, I ended up accepting the role with the support of the PCC. The PCC Secretary role encompasses elements of pulling together agendas, churning out the minutes, setting annual dates and administration tasks – I soon found out that there is a lot more than that. Officially, it is an appointed role that represents the PCC in the Standing Committee, to support the Churchwardens and the Vicar for smooth running of activities and feeds into the vision, purpose and strategy for the church. To an extent, like many of the church leadership roles, it also has a pastoral element, and this has presented unique opportunities for me to connect with brothers and sisters that I would not normally have the opportunity to interact with.

Over the past few years as PCC Secretary, I have been part of the team that has seen St Mary’s through an interregnum, welcomed two new Churchwardens and a Vicar, and tackled some important issues and interactions with the Diocese. I have really enjoyed serving the church in this capacity and have grown immensely in my appreciation for all the church activities and the staff and volunteers that run these week in, week out. I am reminded in Philippians:

‘Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.’

Philippians 2:1-4

The servant-hearted attitudes of those I have worked and interacted with have challenged mine as well, and I have come out of this humbled and hopefully more like my Lord Jesus Christ.

I will remain part of the PCC, representing you, our church congregations, in the topics we have been actively working on. However, the season is right for me to step down from this role and to pass on to Fran Montgomerie; she succeeded me as PCC Secretary at the end of October. Thank you to those who have encouraged me as I have laboured in this role – through your kind words, hospitality, unexpected cards in my pigeonhole, and reading of the minutes. May you extend the love you have shown me to Fran as well as she takes up this vital role.

Fran Montgomerie

I’ve been a member of St Mary’s church family since 2011 with my husband, Richard, and our daughter, Ellie. We were drawn to the church by the breadth of children’s activities and have grown to love the vibrancy of the teaching and worship here. We have all learnt so much about the Christian faith and our personal journeys in faith over this time. My day job is a Geography teacher at a boys’ secondary school, and I also do a bit of English teaching at St Mary’s mid-week which I really enjoy. I have been involved in Scramblers and other aspects of children’s work at church for many years – loving the craft preparation in particular. It is a privilege and a challenge to have been asked to serve as PCC Secretary as new aspects of life at St Mary’s are opening up before me. As I begin this role there is a lot for me to learn and I am very much holding to our Lord’s reassurance that:

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’

2 Corinthians 12:9