Hopefully by the time you start to use this plan, signs of Spring will be well in evidence. Only this week I've seen snowdrops pushing up through the soil signifying new life, and soon the days will be getting noticeably longer. During the term of this plan we will be celebrating Easter, the most important of Christian festivals. Unlike Christmas, which was not celebrated until the second century, the Resurrection has been celebrated right from day (whenever that might have been!). It is why we worship on a Sunday – every week is a mini-Easter! We share in telling the story of Christ's Passion during Holy Week, culminating in the crucifixion on Good Friday and following with the great celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday morning. As we do so we are reminded that death came before resurrection, and in life we find that often there must be an ending before something new can emerge or begin. This is so also in our life together also.
In the Summer we will be saying Thank-you and Goodbye to Rev'd Fred Ireland as he 'sits down' after over 40 years of active ministry both in Circuit and as a prison chaplain. Subject to agreement by Synod and Conference, Fred will move from Active Ministry to take on the mantle of 'Supernumerary' in retirement – a new phase of ministry for him. The precise arrangements have yet to be finalised but we wish him well. We will also send our thanks to Rev'd Charles Harris for the pastoral support and care he has given for several years at Long Hanborough, a role he will step down from at the end of August.
In September we will welcome Rev'd Susan (Sue) Jacobs to join our ministry team. Sue will come as a probationary minister having just completed her studies at Queens Foundation. Sue, her husband Mark, and her two children Edward (Woody) (11) and Phoebe (Dotty) (9), stepson Zac (a student in Bristol) and their dog, Hope, will move to the Circuit in August and will be based in Long Hanborough. Sue will begin her ministry in the Circuit from September, following her Welcome Service – (date to be confirmed). Sue will have pastoral charge of Long Hanborough, Minster Lovell, Bampton and Davenport Road Churches. Sue comes to us from the West Sussex Coast and Downs Circuit, where they currently live in Worthing.
Sue's Welcome service will be held at Davenport Road (date to be confirmed) and led by our new Chair of District Rev'd Sonia Hicks, who we will also welcome sometime around August. Our current Chair Rev'd Helen will by then have been installed as our new President of Conference in Leeds on 29th June. We hold them all in our prayers as they take on their new roles.
So, we have much to look forward to and pray for during the coming months!
Rev'd Andrew P Biggs