Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This Sunday celebrates another milestone in our relationship together. I am so pleased that I am now licensed as your associate minister. Curacy is a strange time, and as we all know my curacy has been stranger than most. It has been full of joy and learning, and also challenges.
You have been with me through all of it, supporting me, teaching me, and allowing me to be in your lives. It's all been pretty overwhelming if I am truthful. It has also been incredibly affirming. We have grown together even more fully into one community, and for me, many miles from my family and the community where I grew up, you have provided me with the love and care of a family. That is very precious to me. You can then imagine how pleased I am that the Bishop has allowed me to continue my ministry and my journey here with all of you.
We have been so blessed in this parish. I have said many times how inspired I have been by your response to the pandemic. The care everyone took of each other in those early, frightening months – looking in on each other, phoning, e-mailing was so essential. Despite the challenges so many of us embraced the ‘new’ technology.
Two years ago I didn’t even know what Zoom or Teams was! How many Sundays did you gather around my dining table to celebrate the Eucharist electronically! And wasn’t it fun to do the ‘Zoom’ musical chairs, and find ourselves in the ‘breakout’ room with people we hadn’t seen for awhile, or meeting someone new? We were making do, but we were making do with courage and with love.
And remember when we were finally able to meet again, using my ‘cut down’ liturgy so we could get in and out in half an hour. How joyful it was to be together even for that short time. I also remember the Christmas at All Hallows' when we sang our carols outside and people from the community on their ‘lock down’ walks, stopped to listen to us. It all seemed both so hard, and yet so full of life.
The vaccines were such blessing to our national life, and gave us the promise of a return to ‘normalcy’, though I don’t think any of realized how long that was going to (or is going to) take. That was one blessing in the Spring of 2021.
Another blessing of that spring was the arrival of Felicity as our new Rector, and her husband Sam. What a difference that has made to all our lives. God saw what we needed and sent them to us. Our family has grown, those new shoots and new promise that always flow to us through our Lord, can be seen throughout our parish.
The Foodshare and Café Church at St Michael and St Helen's, the Tuesday Café at St Lucius', Little Hallows at All Hallows', the work with our schools, the music gifted to us by Pauline, Robert and the choir, the quiet but essential work of the wardens in maintaining our buildings and organizing our worship, the growing activity in protecting our environment, the herculean tasks of organising much delayed weddings and baptisms by our coordinators, and the love with which our retired clergy care for us in leading worship, and carrying out the occasional offices, including weddings and funerals, with such generosity, and the many other spiritual and social events growing in our Parish through all of you.
This is what it means to be part of a community, of serving a community, of being one with our community – walking alongside each other in joy and in trouble. It's an exciting time in our parish, and I’m so pleased that God’s good grace has seen fit to let me continue my ministry in this place.
We have so much to look forward to. I do hope that you can all celebrate my licensing as associate minister on Sunday, and share cake and drinks (I’m not going to hold back, I think a glass of prosecco has my name on it!).