New Year Pastoral Letter

Dear Friends


Christmas is over and the wonderful Christmas trees in our church will soon disappear.  A huge thanks to the folk of Omnes who work so hard over December to fund raise, and to make the church so wonderful and welcoming to all members of our community.

I find it hard to empathise with those who get bored and depressed in January as my new year always starts with more celebration.  The Feast of Epiphany, the mystery of the Star in the bright sky, the camels and the kings, the journeying and the gifts.  Yet more profound things to contemplate that never cease to awaken our spiritual senses.

And then after the Feast of Epiphany we have the Feast of the Baptism of Christ.  These two feasts compete for our attention but I think they are both important.  So we will celebrate the Feast of Epiphany on Sun 7th Jan and The Baptism of Christ on Sun 14th Jan.  The Baptism of Christ is a service which enables us to re-dedicate ourselves for the year and to think of how we might get more involved as part of our church community.  Everyone has an opportunity to serve if they are prepared to take a chance and step up to the plate.  But more of that in a moment …

Firstly let’s stay with Epiphany and Sun 7th Jan where the service will be taken by Rev Gerry and it will be his final service with us as our curate.  Gerry will then take a short break before he is licensed as Team Rector, at the Wellsprings benefice next door to us, at 6.30pm Tues 30th Jan at Potterne church. Please do put it in your diaries and go along to support him.

I have been very grateful for Gerry’s ministry here at St. John’s.  He helped hold the fort with the Wardens during your Interregnum at a very difficult time with the Covid pandemic.  He has then been incredibly valuable to us, not just as an eager priest, but as a deeply committed pastor.  He has been a good friend to many in need in our community.  Wellsprings are very lucky to have him and all the other gifts that he has to freely offer.   We will miss you Gerry here at St John’s but as Rural Dean I am pleased you will still   remain in the deanery.  

And so from Epiphany to our re-dedications at the Baptism of Christ on the 14th.

There are some important roles that we do need to fill this year at our APCM in April.  The 14th Jan is a time to let the rector know if you are thinking of considering becoming part of the team who will take our church forward.

The roles that will need filling include that of Treasurer and also of  Churchwarden.  Both Jane and Mike, after outstanding, dedicated service to our church, will be stepping down from these roles in April and Martin Houghton is considering taking on one of them.  This means we need at least one other person to come forward as Warden or two to become deputy Wardens.  If we suddenly get a couple of people coming forwards we can, in fact, have up to four wardens as we also have St Mary’s!  I’m not necessarily suggesting we do this but I don’t want anyone to think they are blocked from having the conversation with me.

We are moving into a new phase. Our choir were on top form for our 9 Lessons and Carols and we hope to get them a new Musical Director this year as well as starting to build our pipe organ.  The quinquennial work on St Mary’s should be finished by April and will leave us with a secure and watertight building so we can start to look at Phase A of the Regeneration Project.

We are blessed with having police chaplain Christine Hawkins as part of our team now and will be welcoming another priest in the new year.  Claire     Ardern will be licensed as an Anna Chaplain too (at St John’s on 4th Feb) which will enable her to develop her ministry to older people in our parish.  Lots of green shoots and plenty of other things I don’t have room to mention here.

I hope you can feel the Spirit moving in this place because I certainly can. 

Come and join in.  Come and be part of it.  Be one of the ones who make it happen. There really is a blessing on all who serve.

Warm wishes