From the Rectory
January 2007

It's been eleven months now since I commenced work here in Christ Church, Freemantle as Priest in Charge. Time does seem to have flown by, and looking back it has been such a good time for me personally, I really do feel that God has called me to this place. I feel at home and of use, fifty-seven years have passed since my birth and those long years and that complex journey has brought me here, and here I belong: it's a good place to be, and a good feeling to have. Lys is finding it much more difficult to settle, she doesn't have access to you or to the community in quite the same way as I do, our roles are very different, she is a tremendous asset to me and without her I'd be ill-fed, ill clothed, partially unwashed, pretty much unloved and in a poor state really. I know that you have welcomed her but I do ask your prayers for both of us as we continue to get to know you and make our home here.

'What does he get up to, that Brian? After all he only works one day a week'. Well here is eleven months worth of 'What I get up to.' It's not exhaustive but it does give a flavour. There have been 26 Funerals, 20 Baptisms, and 4 Weddings, all needing visits and preparation, some more than others. I've prepared and led 6 Meditations, 1 Vigil and a PCC Away Day. I've written 97 Sermons, in total about 150,000 words, not all wasted I hope! There have been 2 Songs of Praise, 2 Carol Services, 26 School Assemblies, 6 PCC meetings and 6 meetings of the Standing Committee. There have been regular meetings with the Churchwardens, and Staff meetings with Jenny every two weeks. I have given Conununion at home on 6 occasions.

There have been 180 meetings at the Rectory, and Lys has generously provided the tea and coffee for most of them, and I've visited 51 of you in your homes, some several times. I'll get to you all given time. By the way, Kitty loves it here, continually threatening the wildlife but not actually doing very much harm, bless her.

What other occupation could provide such a rich table of fare? What other profession provides such a variety? This is God's work and I love it. I moan from time to time, in the dark winter months I have to force myself out of bed to say my prayers, but that's life, I guess. As I walk across the road, quite literally taking my life in my hands I pass others who are also going about their daily business. There is a real buzz around here, and the mix of ages and ethnicity gives Freemantle an edge that you don't find in many places. Freemantle's mix does, I believe, reflect contemporary life in Britain. In the coming year there will be many more opportunities to engage with that mix of people and cultures, to learn a few more of your stories and to share a little more in your journeys.

There is plenty to do, and together, in faith and with Christ at the helm we'll walk the way of Christian Discipleship together. God bless you and all who are dear to you in this coming year. I pray it will be a happy, healthy and God filled year for each and every one of you. But if not, please remember that what ever 2007 brings I am here as your Priest and friend to help if you need me, and Lys will always welcome you in my absence. The kettle is always ready and a chair always empty and waiting for you. 'Knock and the door will opened.'

Yours for Christ's sake.