On 31st January, the Archdeacon announced that I am to become Acting Curate-in-charge of the Bridges Group for a 6 month placement to give me experience of leadership. At the end of this time, if all the stakeholders are happy, I can be considered for the role of Priest-in-charge (vicar).
This is not what I planned when I set out on my journey to ordination as a priest – it was simply to be an associate minister. However, I often find that God has other ideas and lands me in situations that I had never dreamt of. But I also have confidence that if this is what he is calling me to be, he will equip me for it!
I am very excited by this opportunity and I look forward to working with the churchwardens, PCCs, congregations and wider communities in a different way. I have lots of ideas – for simplifying our church structures and for encouraging the six parishes to work together more coherently.
But my main priority is to help people grow in their faith as Christians – to help them understand the amazing difference it can make in their lives to know Jesus – and the impact this could have in our villages and beyond.
I realise this isn’t going to be easy. I will lead services in each of the six churches at least once a month but we will still have to rely on our wonderful team of “lay” leaders and visiting clergy to cover other Sunday services. We have also had to cancel one non-Communion service at Priors Hardwick for the moment. And I won’t be able to do everything myself – but again we have an amazing group of people – who are “the body of Christ” - with whom I will share responsibilities.
This plan does not affect our intention to appoint two “House for Duty” priests who will live in the vicarages in Napton and Priors Marston in due course. They will be part of the ministry leadership team and have specific roles for supporting the traditional congregations and for pioneering work with families and young people.
I would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement so far on this exciting new stage of my journey as we wait to see what God has in store!