Gateway Magazine May 2022

Gateway, the St Michael’s parish magazine, is available in hardcopy format in the church, but you are also welcome to read the magazine here as a downloadable pdf, or below:

Gateway May 22
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Gateway Magazine, April 2022

Gateway, the St Michael’s parish magazine, is available in hardcopy format in the church, but you are also welcome to read the magazine here as a downloadable pdf, or below:

Gateway Apr 2022
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Gateway Magazine, March 2022

Gateway, the St Michael’s parish magazine, is available in hardcopy format in the church, but you are also welcome to read the magazine here as a downloadable pdf, or below:

Gateway Mar 2022
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Gateway Magazine, February 2022

Gateway, the St Michael’s parish magazine, is available in hardcopy format in the church, but you are also welcome to read the magazine here as a downloadable pdf, or below:

Gateway Feb 2022
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Farewell and Goodbye

St. Michael’s Vicarage, Alnwick
February 2022

Sunday 9th January 2022 seemed a very long way off when I announced my retirement in early October last year – but it seemed to arrive with great haste!

My last Sunday leading worship as Vicar of Alnwick was, indeed, a memorable one and both Jane and I were overwhelmed with the warmth and appreciation which was expressed by many folks on that day.

As Churchwardens, Pat and Anne spoke movingly about the last ten years pointing out, amongst other things, that in 2012 St Michael’s received a bachelor Vicar but were now saying farewell to a Grandpa!

The generosity of your farewell gift was quite astounding and I know we will put it to good use. Top of the list, at the moment, is a new shed and a small greenhouse.

Much has happened over the decade which we have shared together as it has been my privilege to minister in this place. Through good times and not so good times we have had a great deal of fun and, I am convinced, become a more welcoming, loving, and supportive community as, together, we have tried to ensure that “All are welcome in this place”. Equally, we have attempted to make our ministry more outward-looking not only to the community of Alnwick but also further afield – and for this ‘thanks be to God’.

As the time draws near for Jane and me to leave for pastures new and to learn a new way of being – how to be retired together – we give thanks for all that has been and wish you every blessing for all that lies ahead.

With our love and prayers,     Paul & Jane.

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A Note of Thanks from Paul and Jane

St. Michael’s Vicarage, Alnwick
January 2022

Paul & Jane would like to send a huge ‘thank you’ for the splendid send-off last Sunday.

It is difficult to find the right words to express how we feel. The warmth of the goodbyes, the generosity of your leaving gift, the lovely buffet lunch, the cards, the flowers for Jane and the memorable words from our Churchwardens Pat and Anne all combined to make a most memorable occasion. As we prepare to take our leave, we will take with us a great host of happy memories and assure you that Alnwick – and the people of St Michael’s in particular – will always have a very special place in our hearts.

God bless you all.

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Gateway Magazine, December 2021

Gateway, the St Michael’s parish magazine, is available in hardcopy format in the church, but you are also welcome to read the magazine here as a downloadable pdf, or below:

Gateway Dec21Jan22
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Christ at Christmas

St. Michael’s Vicarage, Alnwick
December 2021

Dear People of Alnwick,

Having a two-month edition of ‘Gateway’ for December and January means that it covers so much activity in church and in the wider world.

In the church calendar Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ will all take place before our next edition is published.

In the secular world, commercialism (even if lots of it is ‘online’) will witness millions of pounds being spent, people will travel to be with family, and New Year celebrations are expected to be much greater than those of 2021 — always supposing the Covid-19 conditions allow.

As the Church marks the life-changing effects the birth of Christ had on the whole of humanity, the ‘world’ largely celebrates in a way that, seemingly, takes little notice of God’s gift of love.

We can reac in one of two ways to this fact. Either, we can moan and complain that people have ‘taken the Christ out of Christmas’ or, we can continue to do the same thing Christ himself embodied when he walked this earth: love with all our hearts.

It is that gift of God’s great love, demonstrated most fully in the coming of Christ at Christmas, which we must allow into our hearts, lives and actions and which can continue to help others think (even if only for the most fleeting of moments) what it is that compels us to follow the baby in the manger from Bethlehem to the cross and resurrection — events which changed the world for ever.

As Jane and I prepare to leave Alnwick in the New Year my hope is that you will continue to demonstrate God’s love in Christ in all the ways you have done in recent years: faithful in worship; caring for one another; supporting those in need whether locally, nationally or internationally; being accepting of others’ points of view and extending welcome to all who find themselves crossing the threshold of St Michael’s.

Along with a greater care for one another, it is in this latter ministry which I feel we have made real progress — and which we might dare to hope would warm the heart of God as much as it warms the hearts of those who receive that welcome.

After almost ten years as your Vicar it will not surprise you that I want to include some words from a hymn! As Christmas draws near we will inevitably sing ‘O come to my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee. From serving you over the last decade I also know that there is more than enough room in your hearts for the love of God to be active in all that you might be called to do in the months and years ahead.

With every blessing,

Paul

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Rest in the Lord

St. Michael’s Vicarage, Alnwick
November 2021

Dear People of Alnwick,

My lips curled up into a gentle smile last Sunday morning as the organ played before the service and I heard that lovely melody from Mendelssohn ‘s oratorio ‘Elijah’:
‘O rest in the Lord’.

Was it, I wondered, a ‘nod’ to the fact that I had announced my retirement the previous week!

The words come from Psalm 37 which, in the Book of Common Prayer version, read as follows:
“Delight thou in the Lord and he shall give thee thy heart’s desire. Commit thy way unto the Lord and put thy trust in him and he shall bring it to pass.”

Those words have meant a great deal to me all through my ministry as I vividly remember reciting them at Evening Prayer in Cuddesdon Parish Church on my very first day of training. They seemed significant then — just as they do now — and indeed have in the years between.

Whether we ‘rest’ in the Lord or ‘delight’ in the Lord (and I understand, more and more, that we can do both) surely it is the calling of each and every one of us.

God’s promises, made perfect as they are in the sending his Son, involve trust and commitment — but the reward is the fulfilment of our heart’s desire.

So, it seems to me, that whatever stage we might be at in our journey of faith resting and delighting in the Lord are thoroughly worthwhile pursuits!

Jane’s greatest concern for me as I approach retirement in that I have no hobbies. She wonders what on earth I will do to occupy my time when I lay down my current responsibilities.

A few things come to mind. I would be fascinated to trace my family tree; I might join a choir; time to have some gentle but regular exercise…. On the other hand, completely unexpected areas of interest might arise.

So many of those who are already retired tell me that they can’t understand how they found the time to go to work!

And so, although there are still over two months to go before the next adventure begins, whatever my retirement might have in store, it is my hope that I may learn more and more how to ‘rest’ and ‘delight’ in the Lord. And I hope that you will too.

With every blessing,

Paul

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Gateway Magazine, October 2021

Gateway, the St Michael’s parish magazine, is available in hardcopy format in the church, but you are also welcome to read the magazine here as a downloadable pdf, or below:

Gateway Oct 2021
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