2016 had been a brilliant year and as we look forward to what the New Year will bring, we thought it would be a great idea to look back at some of the things that have happened in the Transforming Wigan movement over the last 365 days. Enjoy!
We started the year with a view forward of the projects that we were going to develop. The first of these was the "What Have You Got?" video series, originally created ready for Lent this year. During this same period, core groups and Deeper Discipleship were also starting to develop.
The summer months saw Transforming Wigan grow as several new teams developed. A Communications team began with Jean Hensey-Reynard dealing with press and Kerry-Mae Doogan becoming apprentice web and media designer. In July there was the Liverpool Diocese Clergy Conference. This happens every 5 years and provided an opportunity to spread the word about the work Transforming Wigan is doing. The Youth Hub team was launched in August as Ben Houghton took on his role as Youth Hub leader. Following on from that September was full of new faces as our Pais Wigan team arrived to begin their year working with Wigan schools and worship communities. Other new arrivals included Andrew Belfield and Paul Johnson to help develop discipleship and chaplaincy respectively. Dave Hill was brought on board to bring the HEARTSMART program to primary schools in Wigan. Finally, our new pioneer chaplain, Cameron Don-Duncan, started his post at Deanery High School.
The very end of September saw the commissioning of Ann Fairhurst as the first Local Missional Leader in a ceremony at the Fur Clemt cafe she founded. The same celebration also saw Rev. Phillip Anderson, of St John's Pemberton, commissioned as Area Dean. In November, there was the launch of the Order of Prayer, a group of committed individuals who have dedicated themselves to praying for the church in Wigan on a daily basis. The same month also saw the Leaders Advance take place at Rydal. December as expected has been the busiest month in our calendar as we organised our second big event in the Grand Arcade to take the story of Jesus to the public of Wigan and ensure that Jesus stays centre of our Christmas celebrations. The "Christmas Stars Jesus" event, on December 17th, was a huge success. Thousands of biscuits, leaflets, and Bags of Hope were given out by teams of volunteers; whilst more than 100 children came to hear the Sleepy Shepherd tell the Nativity story. One final event to end our year was the Christmas Feast hosted by St John's Pemberton in partnership with Fur Clemt and St Paul's Goose Green, which saw them feed up to 200 people from across the local community a delicious Christmas Eve meal.