From the Interim Rector
In the May magazine a year ago, in the wake of my licensing as Interim Rector of the Worcestershire Severn parishes, I described how my appointment would be until October 2018 on a part-time basis, the rest continuing as Rural Dean of Droitwich. As Interim Rector I would certainly be here to offer spiritual and pastoral leadership and support, but primarily my task was to help the seven churches prepare for the appointment of a full-time, permanent Rector, building on the good things already happening in the parishes and looking to the future in a season of change for the whole Church of England. I commented that these are challenging times, but ones which offer opportunities to grow and flourish as well.
In that spirit, the Benefice Profile, prepared in preparation for a new priest, says: We know that we are still discovering how to grow as a group of parishes, but we also believe we have made much positive progress, characterised by a greater openness to each other, improved communication between churches and a better understanding of what we have in common, as well as of how we are distinctive. It is my hope that everyone is able to see and celebrate something of these (and other) developments, and to feel encouraged by them. However, there is also naturally considerable disappointment that, so far, it has not been possible to appoint a new Rector in spite of all the hard work and prayerful preparations, for which I thank everyone. Please be assured that efforts are still continuing to make an appointment, but the reality is that nationally there are more posts available than there are currently clergy to fill them and so, inevitably, there will be continuing vacancies. More clergy are coming forward and being trained, but at present retirements are still out-numbering new entrants.
>Whilst the efforts to appoint a new Rector continue, the clear end of my own appointment as Interim Rector meant some decisions for me personally. Some people kindly asked whether I might stay on after October if the Benefice would otherwise be in vacancy at that point, but after a great deal of deliberation I decided that, as a 'baby-boomer' myself, this autumn would be the right time to retire from full-time stipendiary ministry and so I shall be leaving both my role with the Worcestershire Severn parishes and with Droitwich deanery, effectively at the end of September. Until then I shall continue to support the seven parishes in any way I can, although I shall be giving a bit more time to my work as Rural Dean than during this past year to help me bring my ministry there to an appropriate end too. It will be a rather sad farewell for me after being in Droitwich deanery, and thus connected with the parishes of the Benefice, since 1995, and getting to know many people over that time. But, as the Book of Ecclesiastes says, To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.
But it's not time for any farewells yet! The Benefice Profile tells the story of how our seven communities became the Worcestershire Severn parishes, but importantly it also says something about how the churches see the future. Their top priorities are described as: to grow closer together as a Benefice, spiritually and practically; to continue to develop pastoral care for the whole community in each place; to minister effectively to people in all age groups, older as well as younger; to deepen the faith of our congregations; and to reach out to people who are not connected with church. It is my prayer that this vision will inspire and energise the parishes in their life and ministry together long into the future, and it will be my privilege for a few more months yet to help in that endeavour.
GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATIONS (GDPR)
New data protection regulations are coming into force on May 25th 2018. These regulations ensure that all the information held about us by various groups, businesses, charities etc is with our consent and used in the way we want it to be used.
The important fact is that we must now opt in to any database that we might be part of and tell the holders of that database how we wish them to use our details.
At St Andrew's we have begun to ensure that we comply with the regulations. So, if you are on any contact lists that the church holds we will ask you to give your consent for us to contact you in future.
You may have received an email connected with GDPR. If so, please respond as soon as you can. Likewise, you may have received a form through the post to return. Again, please do this as soon as you can. If you have not responded by May 25th we will not be able to contact you and keep you informed about forthcoming services and events.
If you think we might hold contact details for you and haven't yet heard from us, please contact Jenny Batelen (Churchwarden) on 01905 621294 or email@example.com
MUSIC AT ST ANDREW'S
Do you have an interest in the music in church?
There will be an open meeting in the Narthex of St Andrew's on Tuesday 1st May at 7pm to discuss such questions as:
What should music in our church look/sound like in 2018 and beyond? How do we utilise the various musical talents we have?
What next for the choir?
And the big question - how do we proceed in respect of an organist?
If you are unable to come to the meeting, but have some thoughts please share them either by dropping a note through my door or by email.
Jenny Batelen Fern House, Main Road or firstname.lastname@example.org
Morning Prayer on Wednesdays
You are warmly invited to join us for Morning Prayer on Wednesdays at 9.15am, a simple service lasting about half an hour. We pray especially for the host parish, as well as for the benefice as a whole. If you would like us to pray for any particular people or situations please let me know and feel free to come along if this would be a helpful time to have a word about anything after the service. Sheila
2nd May Ombersley
9th May Hartlebury
16th May Doverdale
23rd and 30th May none
6th June Elmley Lovett
Praying the Parish
If you have a particular need or things to be grateful for, please let either of us know:
Rev Canon Dr Sheila Banyard 01905 773134 email@example.com
Jenny Batelen 01905 621294 firstname.lastname@example.org
Angie Randle 01905 620753 email@example.com
or James Homer 01299 851637 firstname.lastname@example.org [lay reader with pastoral responsibility for 7 Parishes]
Areas for May:
Sunday 6th May - Haye Lane, Church Lane, Hill Top, Dough Bank
Sunday 13th May - Chestnut Walk, Oldfield Lane, Main Road
Sunday 20th May - Chatley, Woodfield, Hadley and Hunt Green