One of the things that has been on my mind recently is how helpful it is to be able to frame important events in the context of a church service. Last week I was invited to speak at a special leavers’ service at a local secondary school. On the occasion of the King’s coronation on Saturday 6th May it was powerful to be able to participate in the special service from Westminster Abbey and hear all about the significance of the ceremony from the comfort of my living room. During the past month we have said farewell to some dearly loved parishioners in funeral services. On each occasion it has been helpful to mark these very significant events in a spiritual way. Having a church service somehow makes us aware of God’s presence at all times and particularly at these significant moments we encounter in our lives.
Although society has on many levels moved away from a culture of churchgoing, it seems that we welcome the opportunity to gather in sacred or consecrated places and buildings for events like weddings and funerals and baptisms and even national and international events like coronations.
We know how special our church building is in the lives of our parishioners and as we have reported in recent months, we have been working to make the building more accessible for those with mobility issues. The process of tendering for this work is about to get under way and as this month’s edition of the magazine goes to print our expectation is that this work will begin in the last week of June after a wedding and a memorial service for a former parishioner have taken place.
We hope to celebrate the life of our Sunday School on Sunday 18th June at our morning service at 11am where prizes will be presented to our children and young people and we have organised a special session for the Sunday School with a Christian drama group called Play It By Ear on that morning.
June is also an important month at school and university when many of our young people will be immersed in important exams. We want people to know we will be remembering them in our prayers at a very stressful and anxious time. It’s a challenging time for parents and grandparents, for aunts and uncles and friends also as they try to offer support and let’s not forget the teachers in our congregation who do such an incredible job. There will be papers to mark, reports to write and revision classes to prepare and deliver over the next little while and the pressure will be intense. We pray for all involved in these things at this time of year.
Many people make their way off for a little while at some point over the summer months and if you get that opportunity we hope that you will be able to worship somewhere different if you are away over a weekend. Your presence can bring great encouragement to a local congregation and I know how pleased we are to be able to welcome visitors either in person or online to our own services.
On Sunday 25th June we hope to have a parish picnic after our morning service at 11am. We are not sure whether at that point we will be in the church building or the church hall as the work necessitates removing some of our technology equipment temporarily. We hope the picnic will be an opportunity to get together informally after the morning service and enjoy some time together.
I want at this point to say a huge thank you to all the leaders of our organisations who have done such an amazing job during the past year as we emerged from all the restrictions of Covid. It is no small feat to bring people together and provide such engaging and welcoming programmes. I think of those who set up each week, provide refreshments, lead activities and extend that hand of friendship to all who cross our doors.
Thank you, too, to all our speakers who came to share with us in the recent week of outreach and community events as we heralded a new King. I loved the way they shared so naturally about why faith is such an important and integral part of their lives. We are trying to work out the best way to follow up those events whether through forming some home groups or running some courses to offer people the opportunity to get together and go a little further on the journey of faith.
Thank you, too, to all who have ministered so practically to families who are going through very sad times of grief with catering after recent funeral services.
With very best wishes,
Jonathan Pierce (Rector)
Telephone 02890 793822