A Letter from your Vicar

A LETTER FROM YOUR VICAR

 

My dear Friends,

Well what have you been hearing about the future of our parishes? I thought it was about time for me to spell out clearly what is likely to happen!! In every village community that I have known, from my childhood onwards, rumours have had a wonderful way of circulating what in modern parlance is ‘fake news’....well sometimes it is just only a little off-beat.

I was appointed in 2015 to a new role as Priest-in-Charge of the two parishes as what is called ‘House-for-Duty Priest’ and expected to ‘work’ Sundays and two days a week. That means my ‘payment’ is the use of the beautiful house called The Vicarage but apart from that, there is no financial ‘payment’. I have found such part-time arrangement impossible having worked full-time for so many years but I also uncovered the reality that it wouldn’t probably work for anyone. 

The Proposal, supported by both our PCCs  is that our two parishes will be linked with that of Wool into one new Benefice. It will be led by the Vicar of Wool (I think she may be‘re-graded’ as Rector) who is full-time and that there will be a part-time priest, based in the vicarage in Bere Regis and generally responsible for our two parishes. This will mean that these two will work together as a Team and will be supportive of each other and will also cover whenever the other is unavailable. This strikes me as eminently sensible so that one of the priests will always be ‘on duty’.

The other part of the proposal is that the next Priest-in-Charge of Bere Regis and Affpuddle will, as well as having the use of the house, be given a 50% stipend and be contracted to work Sundays and three days a week. Again this has come after discussion with the Diocesan authorities. Members of both PCCs have now met Revd Carol Langford, Vicar of Wool and I believe there is very definite enthusiasm to move forward with the Proposal.

The next stage is that there will be a Consultation taking place which gives people an opportunity to raise questions about the proposal. This we had thought would take place during September/ October but may be later;  I have to say that the workings of the Church of England are often not at the fastest!! However there is no need to rush. If any of you have questions to ask me, please do so! Above all, if you hear anything different from what I have written, please do your best to correct any false rumours!!

I am sure that many of us do not take easily and kindly to changes and the Church is continually challenged in how to use its clergy. In towns and cities, one priest may have a population of tens of thousands in his or her parish. People fondly (or not) remember years past when almost every village Church had its own Vicar and sometimes, it seems, there are still similar expectations. The Church family (Priest and people together) now share many of the tasks which used to fall to the Vicar. Pastoral visiting is now often undertaken by those described as Lay Pastoral Assistants and I am grateful to those who do that alongside my pastoral care here. Licensed Lay Ministers occasionally lead worship and preach and again I am very grateful. Churchwardens have heavier responsibilities than they used to as well. Looking into the future we must encourage one another to play our part for the good of the whole.

This is the image of the Church as created by St Paul in his first Letter to the Corinthians (Chapter 12) describing the People of God as a Body, each member with its vital and unique part to play and each respecting and valuing the other members.  I really do want to thank all of you who do undertake tasks so cheerfully. I simply long, and pray, for more people to come on board as the worshipping people of God in these villages.

I am going to end with a saying of Nelson Mandela’s that I came across recently:

“Look not back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness”

Your loving Priest and Friend

Charles

Your help required, please!

Richard Smith has been our Bere Regis PCC Treasurer for the last 10 years and he feels that now is the right time to hand over the day-to-day maintenance of the accounts. We are very grateful for all that he does, and has done, in keeping us on the right path financially.

What we are looking for, please, is someone to take over that day –to- day maintenance of the accounts. There must be various people in our parish community who could do this very efficiently and we are simply asking you to consider if one of those may be you! You would not need to be a member of the Church Council and indeed not even a member of the Church, but someone with the necessary skills and a willingness to use them.

 

Richard will ensure that all aspects of the Treasurer position are properly explained to the new person and is prepared to use his knowledge to maintain an overview of financial matters for the immediate period after the new treasurer is in place.

 

 We cannot actually pay you for undertaking such work but would certainly be prepared to give an ‘honorarium’ as a sign of our gratitude.

 

I will refrain from going into any more detail but please speak to me or to Richard or either of the Churchwardens, for more detailed information.                                                 

Charles