July Magazine

Paston All Saints Church ….. July 2020

Our monthly Church Magazine will continue to appear on the church website until the printing shop re-opens. Apologies to all our regular readers who are unable to pick up the magazine on-line. Hopefully, we will be able to deliver to you again soon. 

 

MISSION STATEMENT

“Sharing the fun, friendship and peace of knowing God’s love with everyone”

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE CHURCH WARDENS …. What is an interregnum?

 

What strange times we are living in! 

As we write this letter, it is our 100th day in “lock-down” and for many people most days are now pretty much all the same. However, very soon we will also enter an interregnum. So, what is an interregnum and how does it work?

 

The word interregnum literally means “between reigns” and it describes the period between one rector leaving a parish and a new one taking over. During an interregnum, the two Churchwardens automatically become the sequestrators of the Benefice along with the Area Dean. Sequestration is simply an ecclesiastical term for being trustees of the benefice. They deal with fees for baptisms, marriages and funerals and they also endeavour to maintain a programme of regular services – ensuring that visiting clergy are paid. They have responsibility for the rectory and all church buildings. A church warden takes the chair for all meetings of the PCC and Standing Committeee. Throughout this interregnum, wardens will have the support and guidance of the Rural Dean, Rev Michael Moore, who actually “installed” us in May last year.

 

We have experienced (from the sidelines) several interregnums over the last 25 years and became sequestrators when Rev Gill Jessop retired. That interregnum lasted for four months until Rev Mark was appointed, and we were extremely grateful for all the loyal support and encouragement we received during that time as all interregnums can be very time-consuming, tiring and challenging. (Just ask Jan King, Frank Webb or Doug Scott) This time round, it is likely to be even harder as we have the additional complications connected to Covid19. (Hopefully many of today’s restrictions will have been lifted by then.) However, even if things do go to plan, a new incumbent is unlikely to take over before the beginning of December. Interviews are scheduled for 10th September and all clergy should serve a three-month notice before they can move on.

 

Behind the scenes, as is customary, your church Standing Committee has been in regular contact since Mark’s announcement in April, with all five members having input to the Parish Profile – a very weighty document covering the parish and the wide area which we serve. This includes census information, service attendance throughout the past year, facilities within the parish, shopping centres, care homes, schools, transport etc. We have been expertly guided in this by the Archdeacon of Oakham and the Rural Dean, who continue to guide and advise us on every step we take. With the added complications due to Covid19, we have been extremely grateful for all the help and advice they have given us. That is stage one of the interregnum successfully completed. The job is advertised !

 

Now, depending on  Diocesan advice, we hope that we may soon be in a position to meet together with all members of the  PCC - either in person (keeping the 2m distance) - or on line, to make plans for the next four months. (Of course, it could possibly be much longer than that as one “reasonably local” church has now been in interregnum for nearly three years). 

 

With thanks to everyone for your help and support over the last two months. 

Please pray for your church and all members of the PCC during this difficult time.

                                                                                                                                  Peter and Steve

 

FROM THE RECTORY … a message from Rev Mark

 

How things have changed! Last year a magazine reflection for July and August would have to do with the holiday season, schools breaking up this month after a busy summer term and people preparing for holidays in this country and abroad. Now schools are not returning fully until September due to Cov19, going abroad is for essential travel only and people who live in favourite holiday destinations in the UK are – understandably – worried over an influx of people. With all the changes that have and are taking place over these last few months since mid-March, a change of a Rector seems to fit very neatly into what we now expect in today’s world! 

Can I ask though that you to do two things as this church faces an interregnum.

Please, firstly, pray for your Parochial Church Council at this time – of what we hope will be a short interregnum. Advertising for a new Rector is already on the diocesan website and in our national newspaper – ‘The Church Times’. If the right person that the Holy Spirit seeks to bring to the parish is appointed, then a new person could be in place before Christmas. So, even though an interregnum may not be that long, please do contact your PCC members, and not just pray for them, but to see in what ways you can offer any help and assistance. They, I know, would be delighted to hear from you!

Please, secondly, keep in touch with as many people as you can who are part of the church family of All Saints. The reality is – that even though public worship begins on the first Sunday in July here – there are still many fears that people have. They are reluctant to come to worship just yet. As such, please stay in touch with one another and phone each other as often as you can.

At this stage where a journey ends – where there is a sense of waiting – before a new journey begins, I value what has been called “The Traveller’s Psalm 121”. 

The Psalmist begins: ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot stumble and he who watches over you will not slumber.’ It goes by the title “The Traveller’s Psalm’, as it was sung by God’s people as they gathered to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to worship God at the temple. People would come together and say this psalm as their fellow pilgrims would depart; and those same pilgrims would sing the psalm as they made the journey then together. It is the picture of people praying for the Lord’s protection and guidance upon one another. In this place, right now, we pray for the Lord’s protection that the parish and the church family of All Saints will be kept safe. And we pray for guidance for the church family in this time of interregnum and all who will be involved in the appointment of a new Rector. It is the knowledge that no matter where we are the Lord is in this place: the same Lord who is the maker of heaven and earth. And perhaps as we face our final earthly journey – so we lift our eyes up – to the Lord and his everlasting kingdom.

As fellow pilgrims, if our journey with Christ remains in this place, or our journey with Christ takes us to other places, we are all forever being upheld by the words of the psalmist: ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.’

Love and blessings upon each and every one of you.

Rev Mark

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO GREAT GRANDPARENTS

 

Congratulations to Colin and Doreen White who have become great-grandparents for the second time.

A bonny baby boy was born on 17th June. The proud great grandparents were very excited when they rang me last week to share the good news. It is wonderful to have happy news to share in these long days of distancing and isolation. On behalf of the whole church family we send love and best wishes.                                                                                                                                            Steve

 

 

A Letter from the Archdeacon of Northampton :-  A good read for the summer?

I wonder if you are the sort of person who loves to get stuck into a book or two over the summer. “Well, choose carefully because you can’t judge a book by its cover” – that’s what I was told as a schoolboy. A rapid glance at my bookshelf will confirm that theory – Power, Corruption and Pies is nothing to do with sinister ambitions in the catering industry; Has Keele Failed? is not an account of shortcomings at the motorway service station; You Can’t Play the Game If You Don’t Know the Rules does not even mention lineouts, rucks or mauls.     

Actually, I’m always rather relieved that you can’t judge a book by its cover. All of us at some stage put on a front, and most of us have moments that we are really not proud of – private and locked away from public viewing. But God knows us as we are. He sees the cover and reads the book. He writes the preface … witnesses our introduction … pays close attention to every turn of the page … accompanies us into every new chapter … and is still engrossed by the epilogue and the bibliography. In other words, he is our unfailingly close companion from cover to cover.     

To our shame, we sometimes never get further than judging the cover. Samuel (in the Bible) rightly observes that “men and women look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”. What a relief. God sees us as we are and still loves us. Like the patient and long-suffering father in the story of the Prodigal Son, God knows that there have been times when we have messed up and pushed him to one side, but still he longs for our homecoming. He runs to meet us when we are still a dot on the horizon. He’s read Volume 1 and longs to start Volume 2.    

Take a leaf out of God’s book – don’t judge by the outward appearance. He is unfailingly patient as we blunder through the pages of our story, so let’s take that same attitude with those around us. I heard a missionary tell the story of the time he arrived at a church carrying his motorbike helmet and showing a shaved head and an arm-full of tattoos. He was coming to speak to a church gathering. He did not immediately introduce himself but asked the person who was welcoming people at the door whether he was in the right place for the event. “Yes, there is something on this evening,” she replied, looking at him suspiciously, “but I don’t think it’s for people like you.” Ouch! In the Bible, we are (thankfully) forbidden from judging others. Leave it to God. He sees the cover and knows every word of the book. Meanwhile, let’s have the patience and the grace not to judge a book by its cover. Happy reading!

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Richard Ormston
Archdeacon of Northampton

 

Farewell to the Bridgen Family

 

This month we say a sad farewell to Rev Mark, Karen and family. It is exactly five years ago this month that Mark first wrote in our church magazine introducing us to Karen and the family. He studied theology at Kings College, University of London, and later trained to be a priest at Cranmer Hall in Durham. His ministry took him to Norwich, Birmingham and Wednesbury before joining us in Paston in 2015. His first letter to the parish appeared in the July edition of our church magazine in which he wrote, “I am looking forward to becoming your next shepherd, pastor and friend as together we will continue to grow in faith, confidence, number, mission and ministry.” 

The collation and induction service was held on Sunday afternoon, 27th September with Bishop Donald, Archdeacon Gordon and the Rural Dean, Ian. The church was packed with friends, visiting clergy, representatives from local schools, council and businesses. Mark had chosen two favourite hymns which we had practiced several times after the morning services and I am delighted to say that it all went very well.  Since that day, Mark has been the shepherd of our flock, trying new ideas, exploring new initiatives and always on the move. Sometimes, we wondered if he would ever stop for rest.

One of the busiest years in our church during Mark’s incumbency was the year of our 800th Anniversary celebrations and I am sure those of us who were around at that time will never forget 2017. In the magazine Mark writes that, “we have stepped into our anniversary year with vigour.” Looking back, I think that was certainly true. It was the result of many meetings and lots of planning with events, services and displays during the year. Mark and Karen threw themselves into helping to organize these varied events – from Christening weekend to Celebration of Marriage. There were many weeks of huge displays with memorabilia, historic records and artefacts borrowed from the archives in Northampton, special themed services and renewal of marriage vows. It was hard work, but all so worth-while. 

The next most challenging period has probably been most recently, during the current covid19 epidemic. This has been a difficult time for all of us, but Mark soon organized a team of volunteers who have endeavoured to keep us all in touch. On-line church services from different points in the church, Zoom Bible Study, regular phone calls to those who are not on computer and, more-recently, opening church - albeit spaced at a distance.

 

However, talking to other people, I feel many would agree that Mark’s real strength has been at times of bereavement. He has shared these sad times with many of our devoted congregation during his time at All Saints and I know from chatting to people that they have very-much appreciated his visits, chats, words of comfort, genuine concern and support.

I am sure we will all bid farewell to Mark, Karen, James, Grace and Olivia with mixed emotions. Sadness that they are leaving us, hope that they will be happy in Sevenoaks, and joy for the happy times we have shared over the past five years.

 

Thank you and all best wishes for your future ministry.

 

This month’s puzzle

 

It is now a long time since many of us stepped into the church, but our puzzle this month should help to remind us of different things that may be seen there. Hidden in each sentence is a church-related word.

 

example. -    Discovery School is on Mountsteven Avenue   (the word “nave” is hidden in there.)

Now find the hidden “church” words in these sentences :-

 

  1. I managed to solve every crossword clue except twelve across.
  2. There are lots of repeats and stuff on the television.
  3. I wish I could meet the real Tarzan.
  4. My friend loves trying on new clothes.
  5. Garlic and leeks are strongly flavoured.
  6. When Mary lost her lamb, I bleated loudly to attract its attention.
  7. I hope we are all in agreement.
  8. We all helped to organize the Summer Fayre. 
  9. The committee decided to elect Ernest as the new president.
  10. There was no chance Leonard would be there in time.
  11.  


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