I spent today with the Halifax Opportunities Trust where I am the Vice Chair of the Board. This Social Enterprise Company delivers government work programmes and Sure Start Children’s Centres, and is based in Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre and the Elsie Whitely Innovation Centre. It’s a two way process – I bring my own expertise to their Board and I bring back things I have learnt from them, and how we might use this experience within the Minster. Alison Haskins is the new CEO, and brings a wealth of knowledge from working across the Third Voluntary sector both in Leeds and Wakefield before coming to Halifax. One of her real strengths is getting the right structures in place so that everyone including their staff, Board, Clients, and the local community know why they exist as an organisation, what their values are and what their aims might be. This is then fleshed out in the setting of their objectives which result in the delivery of their aims and core business. It sounds so simple but few organisations sit down and remind themselves why they exist and what their values should be and their principal aims. I know from the Minster how easy it is to get into the delivery phase on a daily basis, and forget why we do what we do. Lent provides a good time to reflect on what we do and why? Our mission statement reminds us of how we see ourselves: Seeking God: Sharing Faith: Serving Halifax. As a faith community we are called to follow in the way of Jesus, and to adopt his values and his aims and objectives of love of neighbour and the environment, justice for all, healing and wholeness for the creation. This experience of God in Jesus propels us to share our faith with our families and friends, and with the wider community in which we live. This is expressed through our ministry of Welcome, both as new members of the worshipping community and as casual visitors to the Minster, be it as tourists or for events. As a community of faith we serve the community both at home and abroad: be it the use of our building and the use of our time and talents across the town and borough, OR through our support of the Church in our twin town of Aachen in Germany or in Tanzania, through our mission partners at the Cathedral church of St Peter at Kowack, or the neighbouring diocese of Mara. Recently we sent a cheque to Mara Diocese for £750 to support the Safe House at Musoma, where girls are received escaping Female Gentital Mutilation. As a faith community we are in the middle of a Stewardship Campaign, in which we are asked to reflect on the use of our time, our talents, and our money. It’s not so much about what we choose to give, but what opportunities we have to give back, that which God has already given us? It’s also not about what I want to give, but what the needs of the Minster might be, and if I can serve the Church with a joyful heart? There is a parable about giving in secret, so that only God knows what we are giving, and that we don’t become pretentious and egotistic. Much of what we do is in private and not in public, and doesn’t require constant public recognition, other than knowing that we are serving God. As a Minster community we need to grow: numerically, financially, and most importantly of all spiritually and closer to God. Good luck with your reflecting, and make sure you fill in the returns and bring them back to church by the 18th March! Hilary Barber Vicar