Letter for January

A happy New Year to you all! As another new year begins, we all face changes in the year ahead. We shall be saying farewell to you all on 19 January at a special service in the afternoon. We shall be moving to Wiltshire later this month, and I shall be starting my new role as Team Rector of the White Horse Team Ministry with my licensing service on Wednesday 5 February.

Then there will be a period of vacancy (formerly known as “interregnum”). Some people might think that when there is no Rector in post, everything comes to a standstill. Can I say that this is not the case! There is no need for our church life to stand in aspic, waiting for the new incumbent to arrive. I am hoping and praying that the church life, our ministry and mission, will continue to grow and develop. As I wrote in last month’s letter, we now have people who have been trained and authorised to offer: pastoral care (Lay Pastoral Assistants); lead services (retired clergy and Lay Worship Assistants); preach (Readers and retired clergy); provide leadership (Churchwardens and PCCs); and administration (Benefice Administrator). Sunday services should continue according to the current pattern of worship, unless there is good reason to change, which should be agreed by the PCCs. Baptisms, weddings and funerals can still take place. All our church groups, meetings and activities can continue as normal. Some churches find that they grow and develop as people can no longer depend on the incumbent, and as new people step up to new roles and responsibilities. I hope that will be the case.

It will be different of course, and Robert and I will be settling into a new parish with new challenges, new people to get to know and a different routine. We will have a lot to get used to. But we shall be going with many happy memories and having learnt a lot from being with you and grown in our knowledge and love for God.

God calls us all to step into a new future, and to do so with hope and confidence in him. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24). When God calls, it may seem difficult at first, and we may not fully appreciate all the reasons why, but as we go on we will see that he will guide and equip us along the way. As we believe we are called, so we will be given everything we need for the new season. This applies not just to me, but to all of us as we look to the future.

I pray that we will all look to God who is our guide and our strength, that we may all put our hope and trust in him as we go into the future.

We hope to see many of you at our final service and the tea afterwards. We would like to thank everyone for all your support during the last eight years or so, and wish you God’s blessing for the future.

With our love and prayers,

Rebecca and Robert