A Letter from your Associate Priest

 

A letter from your Associate Priest
 
It seems a long time since I came for interview in June and was offered the post of Associate Priest, but we have finally arrived!  Fortunately, the week we moved in was dry – the summer has definitely ended since then though, the puppy and I have had lots of wet walks since arriving in Dorset.  We are gradually making the Vicarage more like our home and feeling settled, what seemed like a huge space is now getting smaller as we unpack and fill it up!  Thank you to all those who cleaned and decorated or cleared the garden before we moved in.  Rev Carol wrote about teamwork in last month’s letter and there has been lots of evidence about how well the different teams work throughout the parishes in this benefice.  All these things take time, so thank you to all involved.  We’ve experienced celebrations of different kinds too.  My licensing service was a wonderful and memorable occasion – Graham and I were made to feel very welcome and it was a joyous start to my ministry here among you.  We also celebrated with Brenda Pitfield as she retired from 30 years of ministry, how lovely to be able to say thank you to Brenda for her dedication and service.
When we celebrate and get together, we’re remembering, and it’s great to do that, but sometimes we’re remembering because sad things have happened, these are the challenges of life that happen to us all.  I find great comfort knowing that God is right there in the middle of those challenges simply because he loves us.
We’re entering the time of remembering in the church season and on Sunday 3rd November the All Souls’ Service will be in Bere Regis Church at 6pm.  This is a chance to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us, through words, music, times of quiet and the lighting of candles.  If you have been bereaved in the last couple of years you will be especially welcome, but this is also an open invite to all who wish to have some time for reflection and think about those we love but see no longer.  Sunday 10th November is, of course, Remembrance Sunday and there will be the usual services in Affpuddle and Bere Regis. It seems more important than ever that, as our world becomes increasingly more volatile, we concentrate on this theme of remembering, both corporate and individual, as we confront issues of war and peace, loss and self-sacrifice, memory and reconciliation, forgiving and forgetting.  
As the seasons change and we move into winter it might help us to remember there’s always something to look forward to and celebrate, which is a great reminder of how much God loves us and how much we should look after each other and our wonderful world.
 
With blessings
Sandra