Since the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, where Chris and I were re-elected to the Deanery Synod and I am again one of your Churchwardens, we have had yet another lockdown and Chris and I have had to learn the mysteries of the Zoom internet meeting facility. I had heard Zoom mentioned a lot during the pandemic, but I must admit to not having a clue how it works or what it looked like, so some fast learning was needed so we could join the online Deanery Synod meeting and I could swear in as Churchwarden at the Archdeacon’s online visitation. All very clever stuff and hopefully I will learn to use properly as time goes by.
The Deanery Synod was attended by some 75 people online, or do we call them Zoomers? The meeting highlighted some of the main problems facing our Diocese and individual churches. The shortage of clergy to fill vacancies such as our own will no doubt lead to a reduction in the number of parishes on the island and we will have to “fight our corner” to ensure we get treated fairly along with the other three Anglo Catholic churches.
Of course, finance was a major issue, with the Diocese currently taking advantage of a Government covid-19 loan which of course will have to be paid back. With lockdown restrictions, churches have all had huge reductions in income and a large majority are finding it impossible to pay their full parish share (quota). The benefits of the Parish Giving Scheme were explained and it was clear that parishes using the scheme were doing far better during the pandemic. A major problem facing us and the whole Diocese is the low numbers in our congregations and closure of churches is something that is going to be the cause of much soul searching and discussion in the near future. However, it was heartening to hear some saying that closure really should be the last option, although we will have to find good reasons to support the case that Anglo Catholic Churches such as ours are needed by people on the island to ensure their spiritual wellbeing is cared for and that transport issues in rural areas such as the island do justify the need for churches that would not be so essential in an urban environment.
If anyone would like more detailed information about the issues discussed at the Deanery Synod, please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can supply copies of the reports, Powerpoint presentations etc.
As one of your Churchwardens and I am sure that Dennis would agree, that although Covid-19 has taken an awful lot of effort and time, we do not forget that as soon as we are permitted to, it is important that we are ready to move forward with finding a new Parish Priest. In February we will have the visit of +Norman, Bishop of Richborough and we must take the opportunity to impress on him that we need all help possible to find a priest who will continue the Anglo-Catholic traditions of this parish.
Best Wishes to you all for Christmas
& I hope the New Year brings better news for us all.