Rector’s Letter – June 2018
I am writing this letter on one of the warmest, sunniest May bank holidays I can remember; the weather giving us all another twist in the story of this year’s extraordinary Spring which has been so disruptive for so many, especially farmers who were lambing.
Life itself is often unpredictable, beyond our control, like the weather. Unfortunately, participation in the life of the church does not offer us any greater control over these things. What it can offer is an opportunity and space to reflect on life, the meaning we find in life and the meaning of life to which our reflections point us.
These reflections form a core in us which can withstand some jostling by events and circumstances. In the church we can find a community ready to nurture this core, through shared resonances of meaning, and ready to support us when reliance on our own strength alone might be a test too far.
This is the aim of the church, to provide uplifting, therapeutic space for nurture of the inner person and support in all aspects of life. Everything which supports this aim has a place in the church and everyone seeking inner peace for themselves and their neighbours is welcome in this shared work.
This summer on 30th June Reverend Nicola Butt, now a deacon of the Church, will be ordained priest in Exford Church at 6pm. This is a very significant event for the church on Exmoor and for Nicola and her family and friends. It is a big event to hold in a smallish parish church like Exford but we will make it work well for us all in the way in which we do that for other significant events we regularly host successfully.
As usual we will be making use of the Cricket Pavilion as additional seating with a big screen and speakers connecting us to the church. Though not in the Cathedral it will be the Bishop’s service nevertheless. There will inevitably be some compromises, there will be some ticketed areas for family and friends of the candidates, some of us will be sitting in the Pavilion (though I don’t think I will get away with that) but nothing in my opinion to outweigh the privilege of hosting an ordination in our benefice.
Following Nicola’s ordination I have made some changes to the service pattern to make the most of opportunities Nicola’s ordination offers us. There will be a traditional form of service at 9.30am each Sunday morning (except the 5th Sundays) somewhere in the benefice. These services will be from, or reflect, the Book of Common Prayer and will include service of Holy Communion and Matins. I will lead all the Holy Communion services.
At 11am there will then be two services of Holy Communion somewhere in the benefice not too close together geographically so that no-one has to travel the length of the benefice unless they want to. These will sit alongside the other services led by lay-people, such as Matins at Withypool, Hawkridge and Exford very ably let by Kathryn Tucker, Steven Pugsley and Brian Duke and Reader Mary LeCoyte.
In addition to this, Nicola is working on occasional children’s services at Cutcombe and Exford churches, building on her work in the schools, to be fitted in on a day at a time when best suits those involved. Flexibility in this area is very helpful in making sure that the people we are working to include are available to come along. Occasionally therefore there might be a change to the pattern to fit these in at Cutcombe and Exford.
I am grateful to so many people in our community who help in all respects of the work of nuture and mutual support in life and faith.
All the best, David