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A prayer for Ukraine

Rector’s Ramblings

Dear FriendsPhoto of Revd Robert Thewsey

Spring has arrived…….well most mornings it does appear to have, but there is still the odd wintery one thrown in for good measure. Some days seem to be T-shirt weather, and others seem to need a winter coat and hood.

This article will come out after Holy Week and as the staff team reflect on the very small attendances that all the Holy Week services attracted it would be good to hear your thoughts as to what you would like. Those who attended the services all went away full of praise and also disappointed that others had not joined in and stating that they would tell their friends about the service so that next year they might attend. So, I do urge you all to try out some, if not all of the special services during the most Holy period in the Churches year when Holy Week comes round next year. If you have never tried one of the services, how do you know that you do not like them? You might be pleasantly surprised.

We seem to be talking a considerable amount about our church buildings at the moment in PCC meetings, talking about how we might be able to improve them, how to use the very generous legacies that have been left to the Benefice churches, the proposed new window at Dunsden, and proposed commemorations of the Queens Jubilee, etc. I would just like to take this opportunity of thanking you all for all the various fund-raising activities that take place throughout the years to bring in the money that is required to maintain our Christian heritage. Without this work then our communities would be so much diminished with the loss of their heritage, and their link with past generations. We need to ensure that our buildings are constantly maintained so that they are a fitting witness to the glory of God in our local communities.

However, church buildings are not all that we are about, although we do seem to spend a lot of time talking about them at each, and every PCC meeting. What we are here for is to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to show others by our lives how this should be carried out in today’s society. This is a really demanding task and requires dedication and confidence in our own faith.

But after speaking to several people around the benefice, post Covid, about the future of the church here in this area does leave me pondering other questions though:

Is there a need for a regular Bible study that runs throughout the year? (We already hold one every Wednesday after the Mid-Week Eucharist.)

Is there anybody who might be interested in training to become a Reader, or feels that they are being called to Ordained ministry?

Is there anybody who feels that they would like to learn how to take Morning Worship?

How can we as a Benefice enable the exploration of our faith to happen in the wider community?

Do you want to become more involved in the local school by becoming a Governor?

Have you ever thought about serving at the Altar?

Do you like listening to the choir sing, and then think: ‘You know, I would really like to do that?’

If you wish to discuss any of these questions, then please do feel free to have a word with any of the staff team and let us see where your vocation might lie.

Let us pray for growth in our own Christian faith this Eastertide, and I also pray that we might all feel able to share that faith with our neighbours and friends.

All of you, hopefully, will be aware that Sarah is now Assistant Rector here in the Benefice, which is really, really great news as it means that Sarah will be staying here for a few more years. At the moment we have not had time to understand and work through what exactly the role of Assistant Rector is, but as soon as we do, we will share this information with you all.

You also need to be aware that I will be taking a Sabbatical this year. A Sabbatical is offered to all stipendiary clergy every seven years. It is an opportunity to take three months off from Parish Ministry to enable the clergy to recharge their batteries and undertake some study. I have never taken a Sabbatical in my 21 years of ministry and so it will be interesting to take one at this stage. I will therefore not be undertaking my normal duties throughout June, July, August and most of September (as I have added my summer holidays to the Sabbatical) and during this period Sarah will be stepping in as Rector with Pam supporting her. Please do keep Sarah and Pam in your prayers over the next few months, and remember that both of them are part time, self-supporting and will therefore need more time to deal with issues that might arise.

With all Gods Blessings

Robert

Rector, Shiplake with Dunsden and Harpsden cum Bolney