Polishing Floors (and People)

St Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

Many of you will be aware that our Parish Hall has been undergoing a fair amount of upgrading and refurbishing in recent months. You will find out in the current edition of “Gateway” just how impressed one Easter visitor was by the improvements which have been made – and, by the time you read this, we hope the long-awaited dishwasher may have been installed in the kitchen!

In all that has been done, one of the most fascinating processes has been the refurbishing of the lovely parquet floors. There’s no getting away from the fact that, with so much activity taking place in the hall, the floors do get a “hammering”.

This is a good and healthy sign: it shows that the place is alive and well-used and it also shows that we are happy for it to be so. There is nothing more discouraging or depressing than buildings (especially church halls) which are treated like mausoleums and where signs appear on every wall or surface with commands which begin “Don’t touch this…” “Never do that…” and so on. God can be glorified in the messy, the noisy and the spontaneous – even if it does involve a little bit of clearing away afterwards!

But back to the floors: innumerable layers of polish which had built up over the years were stripped down and the sanding process then brought out the beauty of the natural wood which had probably not been seen for a very long time.

And then there was the change in the surface texture as the different grades of sanding took place: coarse, medium and smooth. Finally, several coats of seal were applied: each one in turn enhancing the beauty and colour of the wood.

“So what?” you may say. Well, it made me reflect on how things are in life generally. If we wrap ourselves up in cotton wool, as it were; if we refuse to engage in the realities of life – which often are messy, noisy or generally unpleasant, then we’re unlikely to grow in stature, experience or understanding. It is the “daily round, the common” task which moulds us into the people we are – and this includes all the mess, the sadness and the disappointment which life, in all its fullness, often brings.

When I was first ordained there were still a significant number of folk around who had lived through and could remember two World Wars. Now I don’t want to suggest for a moment that war is a good thing, but the hardships, the deprivations and the disasters which these sad times brought undoubtedly led to the tenacity and strength of character which so many of these people possessed. They had, in a sense, been “hammered” a bit like our Parish Hall floor – but they had survived and often had become stronger, more responsible and wiser people as a result.

In the eyes of those who knew them and, surely, in the eyes of God, they had become beautiful people, with a shine and a lustre born of trial and not a little worry.

I am reminded of the words of the 17th century hymn writer, Richard Baxter:

“Christ leads me through no darker rooms
than he went through before;
he that into God’s kingdom comes
must enter by this door.”

As the Church prepares to celebrate the Ascension of Christ and then the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we would do well to remember Christ’s words:

“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Whatever life throws at us, we deal with it in the light of Christ’s victory – and his abiding presence. Through God’s good grace we will become stronger in faith (smoothed and more polished by experience) and equal to our task as Christians in his world.

With every blessing,

            Paul.

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Skimming Stones

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

I may be taken to task for saying this (so, apologies in advance) but throwing stones into water does seem to be a peculiarly male thing!

For some, perfecting the art of making a stone skim across the surface of the water can occupy them for hours whilst others seem to be happy finding the largest stone around and making as big a splash as possible. Not that it takes a very big stone to have a profound effect – the tiniest of pebbles tossed into the centre of a pool can send ripples which radiate outwards until they eventually reach the bank.

In a sense, the same could be said of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

It all began so quietly, in a stable in Bethlehem and a baby lying in a manger and, even at the height of his ministry, the majority of the world’s population would have been oblivious to his existence. What could one man hope to achieve through his life, his death – or even his resurrection?

In global terms, it was a drop in the ocean – but what a drop! For still today the ripples of Christ’s actions are reaching outwards.

Who would have believed two thousand years ago that the good news of the gospel would still be changing lives and that people would still be coming together regularly in worship to acknowledge the love God demonstrated through his Son?

The effect of that one solitary life was beyond the worst nightmares of Christ’s enemies and greater than the wildest dreams of his followers. Yet that is the nature of our God; the God who, in his sovereign power, plunged himself into the pool of human history in such a way that the world would never be the same again.

As we revel once again in miracle of Easter and celebrate that Christ has “overcome the sharpness of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers”, so we praise God for everything that he achieved in Christ – transforming not just individuals but the very course of history through his life, death and resurrection.

In sending his Son to earth, God involved himself in human history in a way that has never been known before or since. Rather than standing aloof from our need, God, in Christ, shared our humanity in order that we might share his eternity.

As we are caught up in the ripples of this timeless truth, may we feel the power of the risen Christ in our lives and ever work to his praise and glory.

A happy and blessed Easter to you all!

With every blessing,

Paul.

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Wholeness and Healing

St Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

I cannot let this opportunity to communicate with you go by without first of all thanking so many of you for your kindness, your concern, and, most importantly, your prayers over recent weeks when I’ve been more than a little ‘under the weather’.

I’ve always been very keen on praying for the sick (and at one point ‘flirted’ with the idea of being a hospital chaplain) and have been told countless times just how much that ministry is appreciated. I have to say that being on the receiving end of such ministry has been not only strengthening and encouraging but has also led me to ponder, even more than usual, the whole business of quietly and regularly holding individuals before God – asking that they may know his presence and his healing love.

We are incredibly blessed to have a National Health Service in this country and, even though we may only have mistakes and slip-ups brought to our attention, the simple fact is that the NHS does an amazing job for the majority of the time.

I have the huge privilege of acting as Spiritual Director to a Hospital Chaplain who works in an extremely busy acute hospital and I know, from my conversations with him, how much what he and his colleagues do is valued by patients, relatives and staff.

By the time you read this letter we will have just had one of our twice-yearly Celebrations of Wholeness and Healing in St Michael’s when we concentrate on praying for the sick (whether in body, mind or spirit) and offering a ministry of the laying-on-of-hands and anointing.

What a blessing such a service is and, unfailingly, as people go home from it, they express the depth and the power of the worship and the blessing they receive from being part of it.

So – individual prayer for the sick, the work of Hospital Chaplains and the public ministry of healing and wholeness provided by the local church all contribute to a fairly constant round of Christian care and concern – all based on the fact that Christ himself healed and made whole people from all walks of life.

Thanks be to God for every opportunity to hold before our loving God those for whom we have a care – and asking him to work in each one of them the good purposes of his perfect will.

Let me leave you with a prayer for healing which, I venture to think, you might find helpful.

God of the present moment, God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to those who wait in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them equal of
whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God and we need you.  Amen.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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Lenten Season

This post was written by our Guest Blogger, the Rev’d Colin Perkins.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which this year is on St Valentine’s Day, 14th February. It lasts until Easter Eve, which is 31st March. During this penitential season we carry out in our spiritual lives something like the spring cleaning we do in our homes.

In church things are a little more sombre: no flowers or special decorations except those used for Mothering Sunday, and quieter, more reflective hymns. We leave out the Gloria in Holy Communion services.

In private we can think about our own progress in our Christian walk, and examine our consciences. It may be helpful to read a Christian book – there are plenty in our church library to choose from.

Here are some suggestions for things we could do as individuals:

  1. Read 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4-7. Here St Paul writes about all the things that ‘Love’ is. Go over it, putting your own name in place of the word Love, and think about how true it is of you.
  2. If you don’t usually read the Bible every day, try it. If you don’t know what to read, the weekly pew sheet gives at least five readings for each Sunday and it would do no harm to read them again, one each day, during the week.
  3. If you are free, come to either or both of the midweek services. The regular Wednesday morning service at 10.15, and the early Thursday morning Prayer Book Communion service at 7.30am.
  4. It is a good tradition to practise some form of self-denial in Lent, but not just to lose weight! If you give up something give away the money saved or use the time saved in some worthwhile manner.
  5. Write an article for our magazine, Gateway: something that could be used at any time would be helpful. Everyone has memories, reminiscences or even rants, and something from more than the usual list of contributors would be gratefully received by the readers and editor.
Photograph of Rev'd Colin Perkins

Rev’d Colin Perkins

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Advertising Christmas

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

The latest supermarket ‘war’ seems to be with Christmas adverts! John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Aldi and even PC World are all at it – with varying degrees of taste…

So what about the Church? Well, so far as the Church of England is concerned, there is an advertising campaign in the run up to Christmas each year. In 2016 it used the strapline “Joy to the world” and this year it is “God with us – Your Christmas Journey”. You may or may not have seen something of this campaign – but one thing is certain, it will not reach the number of people that the supermarkets do on prime time television.

And yet, come Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, people will flock to churches in massive numbers. The cynic may say that, for many, it is simply part of the ‘hype’ of the secular celebrations and that, if there is a gentle snowfall to add to the candlelight and the Christmas tree as folk make their way home from church, all the better.

In truth there is likely to be some substance to this claim but, as I stand at the door of St Michael’s on such occasions and wish people a Happy Christmas as they head back for further festivities I am convinced that many do take seriously the message of God’s love which the birth of the Christ-child signifies.

Of course, there may be much more emphasis on family celebrations in the current day – but, heretic that I am, I become more and more convinced that our God is so loving that he will revel in the enjoyment that many experience over the Christmas season.

Let’s be honest, there have been periods in the history of the Church when people of faith did nothing to advertise the wonderful message of the birth of Christ and its significance for humankind. Under Oliver Cromwell the celebration of Christmas was frowned upon and it is even suggested that he made the consumption of mince pies illegal!

The responsibility for advertising Christmas – and the wonderful truth of the Word made flesh – lies first and foremost with those of us who are regular, card carrying members of the Church locally. If those with whom we have to do see the faithful folk who worship week by week in a positive light: being welcoming, caring, compassionate and non-judgemental – not just at Christmas but all year ‘round – they will ‘catch’ some of that way of life and want to be part of it.

So, my plea is that, here in Alnwick, our Christmas advertising campaign will be a way of life, a daily activity filled with the love which came down at Christmas.

‘Love came down at Christmas, love all lovely, Love divine;
love was born at Christmas, star and angels gave the sign.’

With every blessing for a Christmas filled with the love of God and a New Year that brings happiness and contentment,

Paul.

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Stages on the Journey

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

The other day I dipped into a book which Jane had recently purchased. Entitled ‘Re-enchanting Christianity’, it is by the author Dave Tomlinson who is well-known for an earlier book, ‘How to be a bad Christian…and a better human being’.

Reflecting on the way in which a considerable number of people who were formerly regular churchgoers have become disenchanted, Tomlinson says:

“Church is not supposed to be a place of theological ‘purity’ or rigid conformity to certain beliefs and conventions, but a mishmash of believers, doubters, dissenters and malcontents, each of whom is grappling in his or her own way towards a mystery that is God.”

It seems to me that St Michael’s is a microcosm of Tomlinson’s description of what the church should be – and for that I’m hugely thankful. Whatever stage each of us may be in our pilgrimage of faith, we’re all ‘in the soup’ together and we’re all loved by God equally!

At this stage in the life of the Church – and not least in Alnwick – we need to recognize that all of us are at different points in our understanding and in the intensity of our faith but that God is calling us to be his followers at this time and in this place.

Within the vastness of God’s unbounded and unchanging love and mercy, we can find ourselves unnerved by change and disheartened because ‘things aren’t the way they were’. I was, therefore, really heartened to read these words in a section of the book entitled ‘Behind the mask of certainty’:

“’When I was a child,’ St. Paul says, ‘I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways’ (1 Cor. 13:11). We are not meant to remain the same, to stick with the same outlook on life or to hang on to the same beliefs and attitudes, come what may. We are meant to grow as people, and as that growth occurs all kinds of change will come about in the way we go about interpreting and applying our Christian faith. This can be exciting and stimulating, but it can also be unnerving – both to ourselves and, more especially, to those around us.”

So, recognizing that, as followers of Christ, we are called to be taken out of our comfort zone, let us embrace this ‘adventure’ which is membership of the body of Christ and do all we can to bring about his kingdom and earth (and especially in Alnwick) as it is in heaven.

As we do so, I would draw your attention to the information in our ‘Gateway’ magazine on the ‘Bishops in Mission’ programme entitled ‘Pathways’ which is being planned for September next year. It feels as if this will be a splendid opportunity to celebrate our diversity as individuals and communities alongside all we hold in common in and through Our Lord.

A prayer from Eric Milner-White, a former Dean of York, seems fitting:

O Lord God,
who called your servants
to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown:
Give us faith
to go out with a good courage,
not knowing where we are going,
but only that your hand is leading us,
and your love supporting us;
to the glory of your name.  Amen.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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Disasters and Blessings

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

Following hard on the heels of all the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, we are now beginning to get stark warnings of the havoc that Hurricane Maria is likely to bring.

As I write this letter, predictions are that Maria will move roughly along the same path as Irma, badly affecting many of the Caribbean islands and parts of the US once again.

Neighbourhoods have been flattened, lives have been lost, and one correspondent described the damage as “something you see in images from the First World War”.

I am not qualified to explain, nor do I understand fully, all the likely causes of these natural disasters but the one thing we know for certain is that the devastation which they leave behind will create a legacy from which some people will take years to recover – long after physical restitution is made.

This sort of news – particularly when one terrible experience is followed by another in such quick succession – made me think how fortunate we are in this part of God’s world and, more particularly, how, as we pray and do what we can to support those in such adverse situations, we should remind ourselves of our basic responsibility to give thanks for all the good things we receive in this life.

By this I do not mean that we should simply be relieved that such awful things have not happened to us but, rather, to look at our lives each day and realise, despite the odd ache or pain, despite a few minor irritations that ‘things have not gone our way’, we do indeed have so much to be thankful for.

At each baptism service the candidate is presented with a lighted candle and all who are gathered say:

“Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father.”

Just imagine, if every baptised person took that request seriously, what a different place our world might be.

Of course it would not prevent natural disaster – but a world filled with gratitude for all that God has given us would go a long way to counteract the negativity of a ‘glass-half-empty’ attitude.

There is no avoiding the fact that life can be complicated at times. Sometimes this is of our own making and sometimes we can merely be ‘victims’, but hearing one of the women of Barbuda, who was left only with the clothes in which she stood, speak with faith and massive hope following her life being turned upside down made me realise that many of us (myself included) need to reassess how good God has been to us and shine as lights in his world.

Although the words may seem trite amongst all that has happened in our world of late, there is a very simple message in an old hymn which might be worthy of reflection as we pray for the victims of Irma and Maria and consider how blessed we are.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done,
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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All Are Welcome

St Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

What a wonderful event our Flower Festival proved to be!

St. Michael’s looked absolutely splendid with over forty amazing displays beautifully arranged by a band of incredibly talented floral artists – and all based on the theme of ‘Leisure’.

There was a constant stream of visitors through the doors and lots of them left highly complimentary comments in the visitors’ book, not only about the floral art and the beauty of the building – but many more about the warmth of the welcome and the quality of the hospitality they had received.

Welcome and hospitality lie at the very heart of our Christian presence and witness – and, in a church like St. Michael’s, where there is hardly a Sunday in the year when we are without visitors at our worship, it is vital that we remain constantly aware of our need to excel in this department.

In my experience, it is often when being with a group of like-minded folk who all know each other well that the newcomer or the passer-by can feel most isolated. Churches can particularly fall into the trap of celebrating what a welcoming group of people they are without realising that they confine that welcome to those they already know.

Of course, some people are naturally shy and particularly reticent at making conversation with folk they don’t know but, in church, we all, friend and stranger alike, start from a common understanding of the love we have recognised in God through Christ – the Christ who reminds us that in welcoming the stranger we are welcoming him (see Matthew 25: 34-40).

So, as we give ourselves a pat on the back for the affirming nature of many of the comments in our visitors’ book, let us not rest on our laurels for too long but, rather, keep up the good work so that in our town and locality, as well as in all the places to which our visitors return, St. Michael’s may continue to cultivate the reputation of having welcome and hospitality as an ongoing priority in our corporate ministry.

Perhaps the words of a hymn we’re just beginning to get to know might help:

Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where hands will reach beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach, and live the Word they’ve known.
Here the outcast and the stranger bear the image of God’s face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger:
All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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Weddings Galore!

Dear People of Alnwick,

Weddings are featuring large in my life at the moment!

We have more weddings booked at St Michael’s this year than I have known in the past five years – and that is really good news. In July, five sets of Banns were called at the same time – something I’ve not experienced before in my ministry.

People come to St Michael’s to be married for all sorts of reasons and, with a true sense of hospitality, so far as we can, we try to welcome couples and give them a good experience of church. Many in our congregation, I know, make wedding couples feel welcome and valued as they sit alongside them on Sunday mornings.

These encounters are greatly appreciated by many of the couples as they build up ‘connections’ which would not naturally occur if the wedding was taking place in a secular setting – be it in a stately home or on a Caribbean island.

Statistics certainly seem to reflect an upsurge in church weddings and when I talk to couples in preparation for their big day I sense, more and more, an understanding that they are inviting God into their relationship and that his blessing on their union is both real and important to them.

A photograph of a man and a woman, dressed in white albs in a highly decorated chapel

Vicar Rev’d Canon Paul Scott and his wife Rev’d Jane Scott in Bavaria. (Click to enlarge)

Associations of a different kind resulted in Jane and I being invited to a most beautiful part of Bavaria in mid-July to officiate at the wedding of Lord Max Percy and his fiancée, Princess Nora of Oettingen. This turned out to be a really happy and memorable occasion and a splendid mixture of Bavarian and Northumbrian customs and celebrations. I hope that you can get a flavour of the occasion from the photographs which are included in this month’s edition of ‘Gateway’.

In a rather different context, Jane was recently asked to bless a civil marriage in a celebration held on the beach at Bamburgh – and which was followed by a fish & chips lunch in Seahouses!

However different the Bavarian and the Bamburgh celebrations might have been, they and all the other weddings that are taking place in our own church this summer, illustrate a growing recognition of the need to have loving relationships transformed into holy relationships in which God dwells with the couples in every aspect of their changing lives and wherever they may go.

So perhaps now, as greater numbers return to the church for a blessing on their relationships, is a good time to pray for marriage and family life. They are, after all, the foundations of stable communities.

Let us take the opportunity, too, to pray especially for those relationships which find themselves under undue strain or pressure – that love will find a way to renew and re-energise, that ‘commitment’ may be valued and upheld and that gentleness and forgiveness might win the day.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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‘Goodbye’ to Rev’d Julia!

On Sunday, 2nd July our Curate, Rev’d Julia Myles presided and preached at her final service with us, before she goes to take up her position as Priest-in-Charge of the Arle Valley Benefice in Hampshire. We shall miss her very much, and wish her, her husband Paul and daughter Rachel all the best for the future.

Moments from Julia’s Time at St Michael’s

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A Word From Julia

There is a song I love us to sing when I lead worship at our fabulous school, St Michael’s C of E Primary. The refrain goes “God behind, God beside, God ahead”...with actions of course! It is my belief in the truth of these words that I am holding on to as the time to leave Alnwick has arrived.

God is always behind, beside and ahead of us, in each moment, surrounding us with His love, holding us when we fall, guiding us when we feel lost. Yet I can also look back at the four years that are now behind me and remember how He has surrounded, and held and guided me since I became your Curate in July 2013.

I remember my first sermon mentioning how the word Alnwick rhymed with panic…and I have had a few moments of panic in the four years! I can recall being overwhelmed as the reality and privilege of being ordained really sank in that first time and then the intensity of the learning curve! I can honestly say I have not been bored in four years!

The privilege of this job is always present in my mind and there are many things about my time here that I treasure. The way this job draws me into the lows and highs of people’s lives at baptisms, weddings and funerals is so very precious to me, as is being present at defining moments of a person’s Christian walk. The privilege of presiding at communion really comes home as I see the row of people kneeling at the rail, hands held open as they come to receive the spiritual food Christ gives us. I am always aware that it is God in me that meets God in you as we meet at that rail, at coffee, at events and meetings, at school or in the street. That time behind the altar however, as I pray over the bread and wine and as I offer it up to God and out to you is one of those moments that confirms my calling. I still marvel at how it is that I got here, but in that moment I simply know that I am in the right place with God. My confidence in presiding comes also from the careful and patient training our Vicar gave me. For this and for the many other things he has taught me, as well as his care for me as a whole person I will always be grateful.

The privilege of preaching is one that takes a lot of effort and brain-ache (and wrist ache on the keyboard) and probably the thing that I most worry about. I sometimes feel sorry for the congregation who are ‘trapped’ there and forced to listen to me politely !

You might have noticed that I love working with children at Mini Michael’s and in school. There is something about the unknown reactions, the thinking out of the box, the depth, the innocence and the honesty of conversing with children and young people that really keeps you alive to new possibilities and really challenges you as you seek to respond honestly in return. It also keeps you humble and is a huge amount of fun. My Thursday mornings have so often lifted my spirits and tiredness has vanished (until later!) because of the buzz of welcoming the community of under 5s & their families, and the Mini Michael’s teamwork that makes it happen. Whenever I visit our school I never cease to be impressed by our children and staff. It is not only a place of wonderful educators who really care that the children get a stimulating and top quality experience, it is a place where children learn to value and respect themselves and others and to be good human beings. I will miss all the children and particularly our Junior Church families very, very much. At the other end of the spectrum I have gained much from becoming a member of the Mother’s Union and getting to know our select bunch known as Alnwick branch as well as speaking at other local branches. This will prove to have been particularly important as one of my four parishes is Old Alresford, where Mary Sumner began the Mothers Union. (Did I mention the watercress and the steam railway?)

It has been a privilege to have played a part in of some aspects of Alnwick’s community life; the dedication and commitment of the Community@NE66 and Gallery Youth teams is immense, despite having to spend too much time seeking financial resources that are woefully lacking. It has been a great pleasure to have occasionally been involved with the Town Council and Armed Forces and Playhouse. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Christians Together in Alnwick & with Contagious, visiting the coffee mornings and churches as well as the weekly meetings for prayer with church leaders. I have been able to gain wider experience of ministry in other parishes and have felt warmly welcomed and appreciated when I have covered in the Embleton Benefice, in Amble, Whittingham, Widdrington & Ulgham……….Thank you for all these formational opportunities.

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention my regular places of refreshment in Alnwick; the businesses who have kept me going in my busyness! The two Costas and Bari Tea will experience a drop in custom as I leave -so do go in and have something for me!

I have mentioned groups and congregations as a whole but of course there are individuals with whom I have had more regular contact.There are too many to name but they know who they are. From the moment I first met Albert at the font and he said “ You know we are always here for you don’t you? “, there have been those who have consistently supported and encouraged me, prayed for me and been there to help practically as well as give time for conversation. Thank you for keeping me going.

Speaking of going we must all look ahead now. I am off to try and be obedient to God’s call and His mission in the Arle Valley and you remain to try and do the same here, individually and corporately. We are all still in the same family business, just in different places now. We are all part of the same body with Christ as our head, and it is through His Holy Spirit that we are joined as one. That makes it all sound easy, but I know already, as I approach my last day that it will be extremely hard and sad, for all of our family. There will be tears from me you can guarantee, but in those tears will be the sadness of leaving and the joy of having been here with you all.

The name of Saint Michael’s and all the people of this parish will always be intertwined with my formation as a priest, with my own spiritual formation, and of course with my heart. What better words to leave you with than the closing prayer of Mini Michael’s …… with actions of course!

“May the love of Jesus hold you, the love of Jesus keep you, the love of Jesus guide you until we meet again”

The Last Service

Rev’d Julia led her final service at St Michael’s on Sunday, 2nd July at 10am. During the busy service Julia preached her final sermon for us, with the help of children from Junior Church and others. She presided over the Eucharist, and, toward the end of the service, was presented with a gift from Junior Church, and other gifts from the congregation of St Michael’s. After the service we enjoyed refreshments as we bid our final ‘farewell and Godspeed’ to Rev’d Julia, her husband Paul, and their family, and we give thanks for their ministry among us.

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