St Paul’s becomes a Benefice

IMG_1887Sunday 1st January 2017 was a very significant day in the life of this parish

In 1979 a small group of residents began worshiping together in Rowbarrow Close, with a vision to see an Anglican church planted in Canford Heath. Within two years a small church was built and dedicated called St. Paul’s Church Centre. It was part of and supported by the Oakdale Team Ministry.

St Paul’s outgrew the building and within 10 years of those early meetings in Rowbarrow Close a “new” St Pauls was funded, built and dedicated in July 1989, the building we now occupy. How’s that for church growth!

More C of E reorganisation in 2006 meant two new parishes (the parish of Canford Heath and the parish of Creekmoor) were created. Although St. Paul’s had its own parish it still technically shared clergy with the other churches and remained part of one large team benefice – with the rather long winded name of The Benefice of North Poole Ecumenical Team.

St. Paul’s is now 37 years old and the powers that be have decided we are big enough and ugly enough to stand on our own two feet. So on January 1st 2017 The Benefice of North Poole Ecumenical Team and its team ministry ended. St. Paul’s now has its own benefice, Canford Heath and its own vicar, Matt Williams.

In 37 years there have been a lot of changes, a lot of challenges, there has been growth, there have been many blessings as well as disappointments and heartache. While it’s good to look back and reflect on what God has done, we also need to look forward to what God will do, yes there will be changes, there will be challenges, God willing there will be growth, there will also be blessings and disappointments to come. Whatever happens we should face the future with confidence, knowing God is at work here in Canford Heath.