July 2019  

By the time you read this, our new curate, Revd Sandi Wickens will have started her ministry with us.  I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a really warm welcome to Sandi and her husband, Dave, and say how delighted I am that they are joining us at St Denys’ and St Mark’s, and I know many others have expressed the same sentiment.   Sandi has already moved into the village with her husband Dave and has expressed her own enthusiasm about this opportunity to be involved in the life of St Denys and St Mark’s and in the lives of the parishes. 

Last month, Adam Hardy, our Lay Reader in training wrote this article and in future Sandi, Adam and I will take turns to write for our joint Parish Magazine.  I hope the new ideas and perspectives they bring will be of help and interest.

Personally, it is an exciting time for me, as I will enjoy the privileged position of having two colleagues and as a team, we will share the other ministerial responsibilities of the two parishes.  I have never had the opportunity to train a curate, and whilst slightly apprehensive, I am looking forward to ensuring Sandi gets all the support and help she needs as she prepares for future ministry.   I have every confidence she will enjoy the support and care from our two communities.

As we all look forward to Sandi’s arrival and Adam’s licensing in September, it reminds me of how we are all really one big team, working together for the benefit of the church and community, as do many other groups within the villages.  

Today, as I write this letter, I will be conducting a wedding service in St Denys’ Church.  I hope it will go well and as I look out of the window the sun is shining.  However, it is dependent upon this kind of team work and people fulfilling their various roles.  The church has to be prepared, clean and ready for the occasion.  This will involve our verger, florist and all the background preparation, including a rehearsal.  On the day there is the service itself, which will again need our verger, but also an organist, choir, bell-ringers, photographer, and of course a Revd!  There are other people, too, who contribute behind the scenes in a variety of ways that can go un-noticed but are important to the smooth running of such an occasion.  The wedding ceremony is then followed by the clearing of the church and preparation for the Sunday services.  The parish council is involved in clearing the confetti or rose petals that are so much of these joyous occasions.

Of course, this is only one aspect of village life and throughout our communities there are various teams working together for the benefit of the wider community.  I’m thankful for all the work and commitment of our Parish Councillors and the various societies and organisations that make such a difference to our everyday lives.  It is when we are willing to give of our time and to work together (which isn’t always easy, especially when we are under pressure), that we all benefit.  When we gain from these various partnerships, it is important that we express our appreciation and gratitude, rather than focus on shortfalls.    Let’s try not to look at the one piece of the jigsaw that we might miss sometimes, but on the whole picture which is a kind and caring community working together in everybody’s best interests.  When we do this, we truly fulfil Jesus’ message to ‘Love our neighbours as ourselves’.   So, here’s to all the partnerships, long may they continue and flourish!