May 2015

A Letter from your Licensed Lay Reader

Dear Friends,

Well here we are in the merry month of May, a month which will be very important in the life of our Church. Angi Nutt, our new Priest in Charge, is to be licensed on Monday 18th May. The service begins at 7.30 p.m. and Bishop Jonathan will be licensing Angi. While I realise that a few members of our congregation were understandably upset that we were given no choice about the date for this important service, and sadly, as a result there are some who will not be able to attend, it is important that as many people as possible come along to support Angi at this service. I imagine that there will be a good number of people attending from Angiís old parish to support her as well, but we would prefer not to be out numbered!!

A licensing service is a very moving, and inspiring occasion. Not only is this our first opportunity to welcome Angi into our Church, it is also the occasion when Angi will be given authority from the Bishop to take on all the duties of our parish priest. It will also be a very important occasion for Angiís family as they see her take on her first post as a priest in charge of a parish. Please continue to pray for Angi and her family as they prepare to join us here in Freemantle. Just a few days before Angiís licensing service we celebrate Ascension Day. I know I have said this all before, but Ascension Day is one of the most important festivals in the Churchís calendar. This is the day on which we celebrate Jesus ascending into heaven and thus providing that link between heaven and earth giving us direct access to God. Ascension Day seems to be overlooked by many churches these days, probably because it always falls on a working day, but in Freemantle we will be keeping Ascension Day with a celebration of the Holy Communion at 7.30 p.m. Please make every effort to attend this service, and show that our Church is not one of those which is only open on Sundays. At least it is not Election day, as happened not so long ago!!

The Interregnum, or should I say Vacancy, is nearly over, and with any luck this may be the last opening letter I have to write for the parish News for a while!! I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Gwen and Tony our churchwardens for guiding us through the last sixteen or so months. Being a churchwarden during an Interregnum is no easy task, I know from experience, but Gwen and Tony have done a wonderful job and to most of us parish life has simply carried on as usual. Many thanks also to Eileen, Terry and Jenny, who have worked so hard to ensure that the Eucharistic tradition of the parish has been maintained throughout the Vacancy. We really have been very fortunate to have had the help and assistance from such able and experienced priests. A special thanks must be said for all the extra services conducted during Holy Week and Easter. So far as I can tell, numbers were well up at many of those services. On Palm Sunday we ran out of wafers at the Parish communion!! The Easter Day Parish Communion was particularly well attended, and it was good to see several children present. The Church looked particularly beautiful on Easter Day, thanks to the hard work of the flower ladies.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Annual Parochial Church Meeting on 12th April. I spent the weekend in Tewkesbury, singing the services in the Abbey with the Hereford Chamber choir. It was a most enjoyable weekend, although I returned home on the Sunday evening having virtually lost my voice and nearly a week later I have not fully got it back!! I understand, however that the meeting was reasonably well attended and painlessly short. Our two churchwardens agreed (or were persuaded to serve for another year, and there were few if any changes to the PCC. Many thanks to Tony and Gwen for agreeing to serve as churchwardens for another year. It is always good to have some continuity when a new priest has been appointed and I am sure that Angi will appreciate having two experienced wardens to support her. Thanks also to the PCC members who have been re-elected. Being on the PCC requires a great deal of commitment, and dedication. It involves a great deal more than just sitting through a rather dull meeting every couple of months. PCC members are called by God to take on an important role in the organisation and administration of church affairs and that calling and commitment should never go unrecognised by the congregation.

We have a lot to look forward to in the coming months, with our new priest in charge and our 150th anniversary celebrations. Please keep a careful eye on the Parish News and the weekly News Sheet so that you do not miss out on any of the planned events.

With every blessing for the remainder of Easter and Ascensiontide.

With many blessings to you all,

Malcolm Harper