Thought for the Month
The congregations of St Mary’s Birnam and St. Columba’s Stanley are very happy to hear that Shona, our Rector until the end of April this year, has now settled in Nova Scotia with Frankie and Flint, her two lurcher dogs. She has begun the work needed to start her new ministry which is offering space for folk to come for retreat, and she is finding skills – like joinery - that she did not know she has, as she prepares her property for the arrival of guests.
Since the departure of Shona the congregations have begun the process of discernment for the future. Regular meetings have taken place between Bishop David and the Vestry to ensure that all the business of ‘being church’ is carried out in the present, but also that the vital task of preparing for future ministry, appointing our next Priest, is worked through. You will be aware that Bishop David is retiring at the end of June, but after that date the Dean, the Very Rev Kenny Rathband will assume the role of working with the Vestry.
Meanwhile the pattern of regular worship continues, led by a team of retired clergy from all corners of the Diocese. Most are well known to us, and we have enjoyed having them in our midst. Rev Canon Alan Tilson is newly retired to our diocese from Donegal, and he is coming to us once every four weeks. I am part of this team too, and take an occasional service on a Sunday. I am also involved regularly with the Thursday morning service – communion, coffee and discussion – a time valued as a space for Bible study and reflection as well as fellowship.
So all the usual things are happening, thanks to the work of the Vestry, together with the congregation, who work with great efficiency to see that everything runs smoothly, with the help of various rotas. Several fundraising and social events are planned in the months ahead, look out for these and come and join us if you can. Our Friday morning coffee mornings held while the Duchess Anne is being used for the exhibition of art, are in full swing and proving very popular.
I have just been reading again Psalm 100 and these words echo down through the ages:
“The Lord himself is God;
He himself has made us and we are his;
We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.”
The Psalmist goes on to invite us to ‘enter his gates with thanksgiving’. As we do this we are reminded the Lord is a faithful presence among us throughout all generations, whatever our circumstances, or anxieties for the future.
Rev Frances Forshaw,
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