We have had a splendid year here, in our little parish! My Husband has been very busy, in-fact we have hardly seen him! Which is wonderful as we know that it is the Lord’s work that he is doing.
Our six churches have been a source of great pleasure over the last 12 months. I have been mainly attending ‘Our Mary the Lady of the Leftovers’ where a boost in numbers is needed, due to 30 un-timely deaths. We have sent one of each of our five children to the other 5 churches, to be a witness in the different communities. Yes, it does mean that Sunday morning takes a bit of negotiation, especially since we gave up the car for lent, but it is worth it! We were able to observe Gloria (our youngest at 3 years old) lead worship in one of our larger congregations and would have been proud, if we were the kind of people that believed that pride was a good and healthy thing to feel.
John (aged 8) recently led a 24 hour sing-a-thon to raise money for his church roof. It was so much fun! We stayed overnight in our smaller church ‘St Thomas the Lesser’ and sang ‘More Love, More Power’ over 230 times. Which was slightly ironic as Cecil the Church Warden had forgotten to put the heating on.
The Right Reverend Richard (my husband), has been a flagship or even a lighthouse in this community. I daily give thanks to God that he allowed me to marry such a man, whose shadow I am not fit to stand in! He has restored all six churches this year and been able to re-order them all from the inside out! We now have glass fronts to each church which enables every passer-by to be overwhelmed by God on a Sunday morning. One Sunday we were able to rush to the aid of a young man who was banging on the window, his face was contorting into all different shapes and he seemed unable to control his language! We invited him in for a prayer shower and Phyllis had a prophetic picture of a car parked over a driveway. How wonderful that God is so gentle with us, and the man was much calmed after Phyllis promised to park in the church car park in the future (even if she did have a disability badge).
We sold all the pews and were able to buy new chairs. It took us the whole year and 40 PCC meetings to pick the right chair. But we think that we have the perfect one now, which is easily stackable, enables old ladies to pull themselves up and down with ease, holds all 8 of the books we need on a Sunday morning and is comfy enough to sit on during one of Richard’s more inspired sermons.
In the summer we had 6 successful Church fairs, one for each church. As you may remember this was due to a rather unpleasant time at last year’s joint fair where several stalls were up-ended by a lady from the Association of Nifty Knitters who had leant a crochet hook to someone from ‘St Arthritus’ who had leant it to someone from ‘St Paul The Possible’ who had lost it. A nasty business indeed, especially considering that all the funds then had to be spent on repairing the Rectory Garden. This Year we raised £127, Wonderful! We were delighted to send the money to our missionaries in Hawaii who are helping the locals make Surfboards for Jesus, each comes with a bible verse painted on the bottom.
It has been a busy year for me too, as I seek to serve our community as both Martha and Mary. It has been rather non-stop since my husband in a fit of compassion, invited each congregation to come to Sunday lunch whenever they felt the need. We have approximately 135 each Sunday for lunch and as in the parable of the loaves and fishes, God has indeed provided! It was unfortunate that one week last Christmas we had to pop the family dog in the slow cooker (but I found a wonderful recipe online) and in subsequent weeks, when finances were down our numbers very much reduced! God is indeed gracious!
Anyway I must sign off here, although there is much to tell (as the electricity runs out in 10 minutes). We recently had to put all our savings into repairing the 98 windows in the Rectory, as they were lined with lead and getting the asbestos out of the attic was a costly job! So this Christmas we are making some sacrifices. Which we are only too glad to do. After all this is the Lords work and he shares our suffering.
We are praying that each of you (by name) have a wonderful Christmas and a year of quiche,
In Christian Love,
Mrs Rev Richard.