It is a great joy that this Sunday, July 26th we will be back in church for mass at 11.00, with Alan Swanborough presiding and me preaching.
As things currently stand, we will be able to have mass twice a month, on second and fourth Sundays of the month.
Fr Gregory-Clifton-Smith has generously agreed to preside for us on second Sundays, and Alan Swanborough will preside on Fourth Sundays.
As things currently stand, we will not be having any services during the week, but it may be possible to reinstate the Thursday mass at some point in the autumn.
As you may know, I have recently been appointed Diocesan Dean of Deacons, to exercise a pastoral ministry to the Distinctive Deacons in the Diocese and to have a role in the discernment of vocations and training; but, just before he retired, Fr John suggested that the Bishop might make me Deacon-in-charge at All Saints’ and St Alban’s, to provide leadership and continuity of care during the vacancy.
The exciting news is that the Bishop decided he would do this and, at a low-key service in the Archdeacon’s garden on 12h July, I was given my Bishop’s Licence to a half-time stipendiary appointment. This post is for a maximum of two years or, as it says on my license, “until the appointment of a priest-in-charge, whichever should occur first”.
It won’t really change anything about the way I have been trying to serve our communities for the past three years, and we are still in a vacancy, but it was a great joy to receive this new mandate for my ministry among our constituency.
In addition to ministering at All Saints’ and St Alban’s, I will continue my work in the other two Anglo-Catholic churches on the island, Good Shepherd, Lake and St Saviour on the Cliff, Shanklin and to promote the Anglo-Catholic tradition on the island.
I am looking forward very much to seeing many of you at mass again, albeit sticking to the new guidelines about how we manage the logistics of this(!); but I am conscious that there will be some people who are still shielding and who will not able to be with us. If this applies to you, please be assured you will be in our prayers and that you will be very much with us in spirit.
With my love and prayers,
The image is of a pair of stained glass windows depicting the Parable of the Hidden Treasure (left) paired with the Parable of the Pearl (right) in Scots’ Church, Melbourne, Australia.