From the Vicarage
September will see a number of new priests and deacons being ordained in the diocese. It is always very exciting and humbling to be involved with ordinations when those who have been exploring, and sometimes struggling, with their sense of vocation for many years, take an important step on the journey of discipleship. It is also hugely encouraging to see new ministry immerge alongside the existing ministry and encouragement of others.
We are, of course, all disciples. I am always greatly encouraged by the number of those who offer themselves for ministry whatever form that takes. The exploration, discovery, and nurturing of new gifts and abilities to further God’s work is something which we should all celebrate and rejoice in. As Hazel Butland and Rosie Illingworth are ordained priest to serve in our benefice we should all be encouraged to take this opportunity to consider what is our calling. How do we remain faithful to our baptismal vocation? It is not always clear or obvious, sometimes for many years, how we can best exercise and enable our own ministry to be developed. However, it is the case that each of us has a ministry and each of us has a duty to try and respond to that calling from God. I hope and pray that we can all consider our own sense of call and vacation. The real fruit of Hazel and Rosie’s ministry will be them enabling and encouraging others to blossom and flourish in their discipleship.
Almighty and Everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified:
Hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever. Amen.
Please pray for Hazel and Rosie and for all being ordained this September.
The Galley and Toilets Project at St. Eustachius’
Plans for the refurbishment of “Dora’s Cupboard” are now well advanced and have been displayed in Church. Alongside the design and faculty application process, we have been looking at funding options for the project. The likely cost will be in the region of £150,000. Thanks to the generous support of the Friends of St.Eustachius’, and the PCC, we have funding in place of approximately £75,000 and we are now submitting grant applications hoping to secure up to a further £50,000. We do not know whether these applications will be successful or not. The worst-case scenario is that no application is successful, and we will need to find £75,000 from other sources, or, we are successful, in which case we will need to find £25,000. Alongside this process, local weekly fund-raising initiatives continue in the parish. We are now looking to appoint a fund-raiser with a specific and focussed brief to approach local businesses to support the Galley and Toilets project. We have a strong team in place, and office support available if needed, but we do need someone to take-on/head-up this specific part of the project. If you are interested or would like to know please do speak to me.
Diocese of Exeter
The Diocese has developed a “Next Steps” plan to help mission communities move forward from the pandemic in a way that is both creative and sustainable.
Bishop Robert says:
“The pandemic has changed every aspect of life over the last 18 months and the life of our churches is no exception. We have been challenged in all sorts of ways and I have been moved by the way people have stepped up and stepped out in faith. I give thanks for deeper engagement with local communities, proclaiming the joy of a God who yearns that people everywhere experience life in all its fullness. Most of our parishes and Mission Communities have revealed their resilience, but some are feeling fragile and apprehensive about the future.
As a Diocese, it is time to take stock so that we emerge from this extraordinary period with a clear sense of direction and a realistic plan for how to get there. We need to move forward in a way that is both creative and sustainable.
Now is the time to renew our trust in the leading of God. ‘Next Steps’ represents the crystallisation of our collective learning to date. It draws on the Listening in Deaneries consultation, ‘For Such A Time As This’, carried out in 2020 and the work of the Theological Reflections Group, a group of clergy and laity from across the Diocese who met during lockdown. It incorporates feedback from the Diocesan Synod held in May 2021 on the Church of England’s Emerging Vision for the 2020s and what I learnt at first-hand during my online visits to every deanery chapter.
With so many rural parishes, we have also drawn upon the wisdom garnered in the excellent ‘Lightening the Load’ toolkit and have consulted our Growing the Rural Church team. All these tributaries have fed into our thinking. It is my hope that, as we move forward, we can build a culture that is mutually supportive, working together to make bold decisions, always willing to listen and to adapt.
I hope the document will stimulate imaginative and realistic conversations about how our Mission Communities can develop over the next three years. That development will help inform how our stipendiary clergy can best be deployed. Recognising that some significant challenges still lie ahead of us, we need to enable our Mission Communities to flourish in ways that are fruitful and sustainable, with thriving congregations that make a difference. May God bless our endeavours as together we seek to grow in prayer, to make new disciples and serve the people of Devon with joy.”
The Right Reverend Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter
The “Next Steps” document can be read in full on the Exeter Diocesan Website:
The “Next Steps’ video “God’s Vineyard” can be viewed on Vimeo:
NEXT STEP CONVERSATIONS
The Archdeacon of Plymouth, Ven. Nick Shutt invites you to a conversation on the “Next Steps” plan on:
Thursday, 9th September, at Tavistock Parish Centre, Tavistock, at 7.00 pm
Sunday, 12th September, at St Pancras Church, Plymouth, at 2.30 pm
Thursday, 23rd September at St.Mark’s Church, Ford, Plymouth, at 2.30 pm
Please do take part if you are able to do so.
With my love and prayers.