To misquote Oscar Wilde: “To lose one clergyman may be deemed misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness!” Following Greg’s departure in February, reports suggest that he and Fran are settling into a typically busy way of life in the Benefice of Pontesbury. Last time I heard, Greg was preparing to attend his first of five AGMs!! Our prayers are, of course, with them. Last week, I attended Phil’s final service at St Andy’s in St Oswald’s, before he takes up his new post with Anne as Assistant Rector at Cove in Farnborough. As with Greg’s farewell, a smaller gathering than might have been, in more normal circumstances, thanked Phil for his substantial contributions and support; I personally am immensely grateful for the support and generosity of them both. We prayed for Phil, Anne and little Ella in their new venture, which seems to be exactly what they were looking and praying for. I understand they are to be licensed in Cove at Pentecost – very special. We also prayed for Penny Wakefield and the St Andy’s team in their caretaker role. St Andrew’s had said its farewells the previous week. And we are all so full of admiration for our churchwardens, Nick and Becky, and all the leadership team and technicians, for the way they are keeping the church going (and more!). We also hold them all in prayer, along with all involved in the process of bringing to us the new vicar that God wants to lead us forward as a church. So, not “misfortune” or “carelessness”, but, we believe, part of God’s bigger plan for us all; and we pray and trust Him that He knows the person He wants to lead us, and indeed is already preparing the path for him or her and us.
There is a similar demand for faith and trust, as we are asked to cast our votes in the local elections tomorrow in the most unusual of circumstances. There appears to have been a lack of the usual doorstep canvassing and the multiple leaflets through our letter-boxes, and very little information available about the various candidates. More than ever, I feel, we need to hold fast to our faith in the Lord – to do our best, to pray with all our hearts “Your kingdom come, Lord; your will be done” – a kingdom where love, compassion, justice, truth, integrity, valuing every individual and affording equal opportunity to all reign – and then give thanks that we can leave it in God’s hands and trust Him. Praise the Lord.
“And we know that, to those that love God, all things work together for good” (Romans 8: 28)
Message from Phil, Anne and Ella
Hello everyone, by the time you read this, Anne, Ella and I will have moved down to Farnborough and will probably be living amongst many moving boxes!
I just wanted to let you know how thankful we are for your kind leaving gifts, and also the joint card with St Andy’s. We were really overwhelmed by the generosity of the gifts, and a little goodbye gift for Ella was such a lovely touch too.
The rose plant, you’ll be pleased to hear, is still alive, we have already bought a book from Eden and the other money has already gone towards a dishwasher for the vicarage, which I’m sure you’ll agree will be a real blessing to have!
With lots of love from us and many thanks again,
Phil, Anne and Ella.
The church has now re-opened for live worship every Sunday and will also open for private prayer on Thursdays.
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.
To reserve a seat please contact Julie at email@example.com or 07756 918847.
After booking a seat, if you find that you are unable to attend a service please inform one of the churchwardens so that it can be offered to another person.
Having had empty pews in previous weeks, we are looking to put together a reserve list of those people who are willing to be contacted at short notice to attend a service. If you would like to be included on this list then please let Julie know.
Attending St Andy’s Services
If you would like to attend a service at St Andy’s please contact Julie as she will be taking bookings. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 07756 918847 if you want to attend.
With the church now open for public worship we are seeing an increase in requests for baptisms and therefore have an urgent need to add some people to our Baptism Verger rota. Baptisms take place after the morning service on Sundays usually at 12 noon and last about an hour to hour and half. If you are interested, please let Julie or the Churchwardens know and training can be arranged. This role is important as you will be the welcoming face of St Andrew’s to people who may not have been to church before. A fixed rate is paid for each baptism.
We are also looking for a Baptism Visitor. This volunteer role involves contacting families to meet with them to obtain details for the baptism and assisting with baptism preparation. If you are interested, please contact Julie for a full job description.
Christian Aid Week 10th-16th May
As we were unable to collect house-to-house in 2020 this year is a very important year for Christian Aid. Like so many other charities they desperately need your support. However, this year the collection will be very different.
Firstly, I was due the first of 2 knee replacements which did not take place and now I can only walk with a stick which will limit the number of houses I am able to collect from.
Christian Aid has produced some envelopes which will be delivered locally. I will include my details and if you wish to donate you can just return the envelope through my door. Also, I have set up an e-envelope should you wish to donate online. (link below)
At a time when we are all being asked to donate for one thing or another, I understand you cannot give to all. Do please try and support us if you can.
8 Osbaston Close
Dogs in Churchyard
Due to an increasing amount of dog fouling in the churchyard we must ask dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead and ensure that any poop is bagged and binned.
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 interested in standing, please let the one of the churchwardens know.
Building our Faith
Our zoom Bible study continues tonight at 7.30pm. The theme is The Holy Spirit and all are welcome to join us.
The zoom details are available from Sue Masters on 07958 322026.
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
Please pray for Rita Muir who has had a fall and is badly bruised: and for John Shelton whose health is improving but has a slow recovery ahead.
Please also pray for St Andrew’s as work continues to take place in 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