One of the positives of Lockdown for me has been taking my daily walk (well, almost daily). We are blessed with a multiple of woods, fields and parks in this area, so I am not short of places to go. A particular joy is to discover a new walk and it never ceases to amaze me how many fields are hidden behind a row of houses.
A second joy is seeing something for the first time ever. One of my favourite haunts is Tile Hill Wood and, a week or so ago, I came upon a lovely lady taking photos of one of the ponds. “I’m trying to take photos of all these frogs,” she explained excitedly, “There are so many of them!” Not wishing to disturb her plan, I left her to it but next time around, I thought I would look for these frogs myself and stood at the edge of the pond in silence, waiting and watching. Then I saw one, on the far side of the pond, at first just a bit of movement in the soft mud, then the appearance of a body before it suddenly leapt into the water. Indeed, now that my eyes had focussed, I could see that the water and the mud were bubbling with activity – frogs leaping here, there, and everywhere amongst an abundance of frog spawn, glistening on the pond’s surface. It was a first for me. Yes, I had seen frogs before, I had seen frog spawn before. Indeed, I had even, with my children, watched the growth cycle of the tadpole into a frog – but despite frequent walks past many ponds, I had not seen this before. What is more, had it not been for that lady taking photos, and her remark about the frogs, I don’t suppose I would have seen them that day either.
All this reminds me just how blind we can be: There is that blindness that comes from pre-occupation – we can be looking but our mind is on other matters, so we only see what we expect to see and not what is there. Or we can be looking, but we are not tuned in to the detail, so we only see part of the picture and miss a great deal. This is not just about seeing the world around us – it is also about how we see other people, our family, friends and neighbours. It is also true of how we see God. Jesus said, “I have come into this world so that the blind will see…” John 9; 39. I guess, in a way, Jesus is like that lady in the wood, if we allow him to catch our attention, we will see wonderful things.
Lesley Lee – Reader
So how do you Recruit a Vicar?
It’s a question I’ve been asked a few times recently and so I thought I’d outline the 4 steps that we started from the end of February.
Step 1 – The Bishop first must agree – that a vicar should be appointed to St Andrew’s and St Andy’s, it’s not guaranteed. Eastern Green has been very fortunate over many years to have its own vicar, when other parishes have been merged, sometimes with 2 to 5 churches sharing a vicar. Consideration is given to how viable the church is. For example, is it an active church? Does it pay its way? How many people attend church? is there the potential for growth? Following meetings with the Archdeacons in March, the Bishop has agreed that Eastern Green can advertise for a vicar.
Step 2 – Writing the Parish Profile – This document sets out the vision for the church, the type of qualities we are looking for in our new vicar and paints a picture of the parish, the community and church life. The PCC appointed a small team to write this document and it will be presented to the PCC in early April. Once agreed by the PCC, the Area Dean and the Bishop, this document will form the basis of the advert. So, it’s important we get this right. The team who has written the profile will be holding some zoom meetings in late April to share the process and the content.
Step 3 – Advertising for suitable candidates – As someone asked me last week “do you put an advert in the Job Centre?”. Not quite. Most vacancies are advertised in the Church newspaper, “The Church Times”, they are also placed on the Coventry Diocese webpages. This will be done, I expect, in mid to late April.
Step 4 – Interviews – A shortlist of candidates will be interviewed. The PCC appointed Sue Masters, Liz Reed and myself as the Parish Representatives, to join the Area Dean and Archdeacon on the interview panel. The candidates will have the opportunity to meet the PCC before the interviews. If one of the candidates is successful, then an announcement will be made shortly afterwards.
So, when will we have our new vicar? – Assuming a suitable candidate is identified at the end of this process, the earliest date our new vicar will be in post is September/ October this year.
I’d ask you to continue to pray for those involved in the appointment process and pray that God is placing our church in the heart of someone, to be our next vicar.
Nick Tooby – Churchwarden
Julie, our parish administrator, will be on holiday from Thursday 31st March until Monday 12th April. Any urgent queries should be addressed to one of the churchwardens – phone numbers provided at the end of the bulletin.
Programme for Holy Week
Monday 29th March to Wednesday 31st March – a 20-minute Meditation online each evening at 7pm.
1st April – Maundy Thursday recorded service online at 7pm.
2nd April – Good Friday Children’s Service in church at 10am.
2nd April – At the Cross recorded reflection online at 2pm.
4th April – Easter Sunday Parish Communion at 10am in church and online.
The PCC has agreed that the church can re-open for live worship on Easter Sunday. There will also be a Children’s Service on Good Friday at 10am. The church will also open for private prayer on Thursdays from April 8th.
Due to limited seating, places may be reserved by contacting Julie on a first come, first served basis. As before, we urge you if you have an invitation not to forget and if you are suddenly unable to attend to let us know at the earliest possible moment. Face masks continue to be required. If you see anyone not wearing a face mask, it is because they have medical exemption. We are not allowing any other exception. It is imperative the rules are strictly adhered to. This means gelling hands immediately upon arrival, taking your pew straight away as directed by the steward including whether to sit by the wall or the aisle; not moving from your place at any point during the service; and leaving promptly afterwards.
Please note that seats for Easter Sunday are now fully booked and there is one place left for the Good Friday Children’s Service.
Due to holiday, if you wish to book a seat for services up to and including 11th April please contact Julie before Wednesday 31st March.
Cleaning the Church
As we are opening the church again from Easter Day, our thoughts are turning back to cleaning the building. Currently, we have a very small team who are on the rota to clean once a week. The team is Phil and Denise Davies, Diane Wilson, Becky Crowe and I who clean on a voluntary basis. Ideally, we would like to add some more volunteers to help us.
It normally takes a couple of hours to clean the church and side room (we are not cleaning upstairs currently) to make sure it is ready for a service on Sunday.
Cleaning of the building is important at the moment, not just to show visitors that the church is cared for, but also as part of the arrangements to allow us to open the church safely. Would you be able to help? If so, please email me at email@example.com
Thank you, Nick Tooby
The date of the church’s annual meeting has been set for Monday 17th May at 7.30pm via zoom. The access codes to join the meeting will be available nearer the time.
The APCM will elect churchwardens and PCC members. If you are an existing PCC member, would you please let Julie know if you are willing to stand next year by 10th May or if you are interested in standing, please let the one of the churchwardens know.
I’ve heard the sad news today that George Cooke passed away last night after a short illness. George had a wonderful God given ability to play the church organ, and has led music, both through his playing and as choirmaster, for many years in St Andrew’s. We thank God for his life and ministry within our church, and we pray for his family and all who knew George and will be mourning his loss. Nick Tooby
Youth Wellbeing Course
We are looking to safer recruit volunteers for our Youth work. If you feel you could help with either the Drama Club, Rock Solid or the Youth Wellbeing course then please get in touch with Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org
The key message at the meeting was that although we seem to be going in the right direction with the number of cases decreasing, we still need to act with caution.
A reminder of the changes that come into effect on Monday 29th March, which are:
- Rule of 6 or 2 households can meet outside (Support bubbles are counted as one household and any children under the age of five are not included in the head count)
- Organised outdoor sport (children and adults) can recommence
- Outdoor sport and leisure facilities can resume business
- All outdoor children’s activities are permitted again
- Outdoor parent and child groups (max 15 people, excluding under 5s) can take place
- Minimise travel, but no more ‘stay at home’
Visit to Pontesbury
As we all know we were unable to hold a farewell event for Greg & Fran when we said goodbye in January. Plans were originally set out for and event in the summer for them to return so we could say goodbye properly. Having been in their new parish for a few weeks Greg and Fran feel a return would be too emotionally difficult.
However, Greg & Fran has invited the members of St Andrew’s to a Thanksgiving service on the 21st June at 7pm. The service will be held at St George’s in Pontesbury, to thank God for what we hope will be the permanent end to lockdown.
During the afternoon, Greg is offering to show people around his new parish and hopefully in true St Andrew’s tradition there will be lots of cake!
You will need to make your own arrangements to travel to and from Pontesbury.
Of course, this is all provisional and is subject to the lockdown being lifted as per the roadmap set out by the government. At this time we are asking if this is something you would like to attend (both/afternoon/evening) please can you send myself or a Julie your intentions so we can send rough numbers to Greg. We will confirm full details nearer the time.
Becky Crowe – Churchwarden
To donate to Central foodbank, Sue Barnes is coordinating this so please contact her to drop off food at her house. Contact Sue at email@example.com
If you are unable to give food you can also donate online here:
Sunday Coffee Gathering
The access codes for the 11.15am Sunday gathering are available from the churchwardens.
Many to congratulations to Beryl Lee who celebrates her 90th birthday this Sunday (28th March).
I still have many 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles and a few 500-piece puzzles which are available for anyone to loan. If you would like one (or more) please contact Julie on 07756 918847 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to collect a jigsaw please give me a call and I can arrange for one to be delivered to you. Please note that jigsaws will be available until the end of April.
Please pray for John Shelton who is now home from hospital but has a long recovery ahead.
Please also pray for St Andrew’s as work continues to take place for the process of finding a new vicar.
Do send Julie your favourite bible verses or hymn verses, names for prayer and any birthdays, celebrations or articles for inclusion in the bulletin. Julie can be contacted on 07756 918847 or email@example.com
Parish Administrator: Julie Crow – 07756 918847
Churchwardens: Nick Tooby – 07951 925772 or Becky Crowe – 07875 552518