1 January 2015
Dear Readers, a blessed and happy new year to you!
So here we are. The last present has been unwrapped. The last mince pie is eaten. The Turkey is all gone. The nativity plays are over and the last carol has been sung. Christmas is finished for another year.
So this is as good a time as any to ask what it has all been about. What difference will Christmas 2014 have made to our lives throughout the coming year?
Well hopefully it has been a time to step off the working treadmill and focus on some of the important things in life: friends, families, our spouses. A time to rest for a few days. The Americans call this "the holidays". I am sure that most of us will have taken time to look up, metaphorically, from the trees and see the woods. I would now like us to lift our view even higher and see county in which the woods are set. Let's do this by looking at the next holy day in the church's season, the Epiphany.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2.1- 2, 10 -11)
The Wise Men (tradition calls them three kings) recognised the significance of Jesus’s birth. Whether they were royalty or not, they were certainly important people. The ordinary man or woman simply could not have brought such gifts. In any case, they give us a clue to who this baby Jesus is. "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?"
Remember what happened when Prince George was born to the Duchess of Cambridge? There was a procession of world leaders and figures of note travelling to England to celebrate his birth. The Wise Men / Kings were doing exactly the same thing. And what did these wise men do?
Read more: View from Whitchurch Vicarage
1 November 2014
I am very pleased to introduce myself to you and I very much look forward to meeting you personally. I was educated at King Edward’s VI School, Lichfield, and for 15 years followed a career in Banking before becoming a Reader in 1987. This was a change of direction that came about gradually - there was no sudden “conversion experience”. I trained at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and was ordained in Worcester in 1992. I subsequently obtained a BA at the Open University, and an MA in Pastoral Theology at Birmingham University in 1996, followed by a Ph.D in Theology in 2000.
My ministry began in the largely rural diocese of Worcester. I was assistant Curate in the Worcester South-East Team from 1992-1995 and also a part-time Chaplain at St.Richard’s Hospice and at RNIB New College, Worcester. In 1995, I became Rector of Ripple, Earls Croome with Hill Croome and Strensham, and in 2000 I also became Rector of Upton upon Severn and The Church of the Good Shepherd, Hook Common. The churches, and the communities which each served, were very active and mixed, and I enjoyed the predictable and unexpected challenges and demands of parochial ministry in both town and country; this included developing new patterns of lay ministry and fundraising for a significant medieval church. I was also privileged to work ecumenically as a member of the Upton upon Severn Local Ecumenical Partnership from 1999, becoming its Chairman in 2005. From 1997-2005 I was Rural Dean of Upton, and Chairman of the Worcester Diocesan House of Clergy from 2002-2005. I was appointed an Honorary Canon of Worcester Cathedral in 2003. In 2005, I moved to Cornwall to become Dean of Truro and Rector of St.Mary’s Truro where I began working with new colleagues and many different groups of people within the Cathedral and across the diocese of Truro, all of which I enjoyed.
Read more: The Very Revd Dr Chris Hardwick, Priest-in-Charge (Vicar Designate) of Tavistock, Gulworthy and...