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From the Rectory

  December 2017  

As many of you will know by now, I have been offered and accepted, the post of Interim Priest in Charge of St Nicolas, Pevensey, in Chichester Diocese. My last Sunday in Cornwall will be 18th February, with the licensing in Sussex on 13th March.

It will be a very different kind of ministry, in that although Pevensey is technically a village, it’s connected in all sorts of ways to the nearby large town of Eastbourne, which is where we will be
living, and instead of having responsibility for eight churches, there are just two – and one PCC, rather than five.

Within the next three years, the parish will join with the adjoining one – which is of a very different tradition. A lot of work needs doing to prepare the ground – and is why the interim ministry post has been created (and why it is time-limited).

I’d not been looking for another job, but was approached and asked to consider it – and it felt right. We know the area well, as it’s where I grew up, where all our children were born, and where I taught for 24 years.

When I was little, I remember being told that you should always leave the table feeling you could eat some more. It seemed counter-intuitive – but was a point well made.

And it’s true in other respects – which is why it makes sense, if possible, to move on whilst whatever it is you’re doing is still enjoyable and interesting – rather than waiting until it’s begun to pall.

But change invariably involves challenge, as it means leaving your personal comfort zone – which is what I will be doing, by beginning a new phase of ministry, when most clergy of my vintage
have long since retired.

Because although I certainly want more time for things that have for many years got rather squeezed out, I’m not looking to hang up my cassock just yet. So the fact that this is a half-time appointment makes it particularly attractive.

But I’ve not gone yet – and our main focus over these coming weeks is obviously going to be on Advent, followed immediately by Christmas.

The story of the birth of Jesus is such a profound exploration of the many facets of our humanity, that there’s something desperately sad about the way it’s become seen as simply a bit of escapism – of interest primarily for children. As a result, huge numbers of intelligent and thoughtful adults only engage with it in a cursory way, rather than looking to embrace and enter the mystery and wonder that come so naturally to the young, but which tend to get lost, as world-weariness sets in.

Most of us find the tradition and sheer familiarity of the Christmas celebrations (not excluding the gastronomic elements) immensely important. In a fast-changing world, there’s a need for at least some religious and cultural anchors – which is why doing (and singing) pretty much (if not exactly) the same thing as we always do at this season, helps to root us, helps us to find something solid on which to stand.

But the crucial thing about Christmas is not that everyone understands it in the same kind of way – but that everyone is able to find some way of engaging with it that works for them. The problem is that this ‘something’ can’t be put into words of one syllable (or even two), and is only available to those who give themselves over wholeheartedly to the spirit of the season.

This is why it is (surely?) well nigh impossible to celebrate Christmas in anything other than a superficial way, without getting involved in the sort of stuff that goes on in churches. Many people try (just as I used to) – but the outcome is rarely entirely satisfying.

It’s the difference between peering through the windows of a restaurant and watching the diners – or being one of those actually enjoying the food. Given how well we’re able to dine (spiritually!) at Christmas, our task is to do all we can to make the idea of going inside seem positively irresistible.

As the liturgical current carries us merrily along, I wish you all a reflective Advent, and a joy-filled Christmas!

Revd Tony

Any enquiries relating to the Week St. Mary Circle of Parishes should be directed to:
Revd Tony Windross, The Rectory, The Glebe, Week St. Mary, Holsworthy, Devon EX22 6UY
Email:  • Telephone: 01288 341600

For local enquiries relating to Week St. Mary Church matters please contact either of the Churchwardens:  Lesley Booker Tel: 01288 341221  or  Richard Sowerby Tel: 01288 341348

For enquiries relating to Week St. Mary Methodist Church please contact
Rev Doreen Sparey-Delacassa • The Manse, Canworthy Water • Telephone: 01566 781854

© All of the content of the Week St. Mary website is the copyright of David Martin & Linda Cobbledick except where stated 2006-2017