Letter from Alastair – September 2021

More tea vicar?

In the final weeks of August we have entertained well over 150 people in the vicarage garden, hosting teas, community leaders and even a triple 18th birthday celebration and we still have a youth BBQ to come in early September. We have been regularly asking, more tea? Or more beer? I am not writing this to blow our own trumpet, but rather to celebrate the fact that we can finally meet up, especially in our gardens. It has been a tough 18 months but getting people together has done us all a world of good. Some folks have hardly been outside for months and even the Parish councillors commented that this was the first time they were meeting without the interface of a screen.

As we begin the road to normality it is important to give thanks for all we have managed to do in these last months. We have started singing in Church, we have been able to have refreshments outside after our services and weddings and baptisms have begun again. A great step towards normality occurred last Sunday when we were able to meet for worship in the park. Many members of our Church congregations met together, sang hymns and listened to some lovely tributes. It felt all the more special because we had not been able to meet for so long.

However, we are not just going back to the normality of before. To carry on the analogy, we will be offering some Earl Grey and maybe even some peppermint tea into the mix. Our worship will have many of the same ingredients but also have a fresh look as we move into September. If we have learnt anything over successive lockdowns, it is that we are just as much Church even when we cannot be in the building!

The 8 o’clock service will continue to offer worship for those wanting something quiet, reflective and traditional, although sometimes with a hint of spice! Then at 9.30 each Sunday, apart from the first Sunday of each month, there will be a new, informal multi-generational service called CONNECT which will be held at the Parish Centre. The time together will allow us all to experience God together focusing on our own preferred learning style. At 10.30 there will be a more traditional communion service in the Church building followed by coffee. On the first Sunday of each month there will be a 10 o’clock All-age service at St Mary’s called CONNECT TOGETHER which will combine modern and traditional styles of worship. In addition to the morning services, there will be a couple of evening services; a monthly healing service and a monthly modern worship service. And finally the mid-week communion service will move back to Thursday mornings, but at the slightly later time of 10.30.

I hope many of you will try one of our new services. There will be plenty of tea, but I hope you enjoy the new flavours. As always our services will be characterised by a warm welcome, supportive friendship, great hospitality and an opportunity to encounter God and one another. I hope to see you soon – you would be most welcome.