The Vicar writes……
As July slips into August, the schools have broken up for six weeks or so, families are off to relax and enjoy their summer holidays, and the sun shines on.
This month the Blackrod, Daisy Hill, Westhoughton and Wingates Team say more goodbyes and au revoirs. Ian Hepburn who is an ordinand on the St Mellitus ministry course in Liverpool, will be joining Canon Chris Bracegirdle in Bolton. Chris is Ian’s supervisor and now that Chris has settled into his new role Ian will be able to join him. It’s been great to have Ian as part of the team. His home church is St John’s, Wingates, where he was once a churchwarden and ALM and where his wife Ilona and their children still worship. Ian has lots of experience of All Age worship and has been a stalwart of the Café Churches at St Georges and St Thomas’ both as a leader and especially on the guitar. I think the young lads thought he was really cool! As well as music, Ian’s very keen on sport and looking into Sports chaplaincy as perhaps a way of exercising his ministry. He will be ordained next summer and we wish him all the very best.
Also we say good bye or rather au revoir to Revd Kirsty as she begins her maternity leave. She and Gareth are expecting a little girl at the beginning of September. Kirsty has done a wonderful job of holding things together since Chris left and picking up the things that need doing. Fortunately, even though Chris is her supervisor too, she has been able to stay with us as her training is almost complete. Certainly there can’t be much she won’t have done when she finally gets her own parish. However, Kirsty will be on maternity leave until Spring next year and then she’ll be with us for a few more months until her curacy is completed. I’m sure you will join me in wishing Kirsty and Gareth good luck and God’s blessing as they begin this new stage in their lives. Kirsty will be at St Katharine’s on the 5th August so that gives you a chance to wish her well in person.
The Team Rector post is now advertised and the closing date is soon. Please remember to pray that the Holy Spirit will prompt suitable candidates to apply and remember those who have been given the task of choosing who to appoint.
In the meantime it’s business as usual. Each church in our team is pulling together so that we can continue to offer the services people want. Our retired clergy once more are proving to be a tower of strength and we are truly grateful. Summer is a busy time for weddings and baptisms and it’s encouraging that lay people also are doing their best to support Kirsty and me by taking on extra responsibility in the organising of those amongst other things.
Although we are short of clergy at the moment let’s not forget that every member of the church is important with a vital role to play. God bless each of you as you fulfil your own calling to serve God’s people.
With love and prayers,