Dear Fellow Members of St Bartholomew’s
Firstly, a tremendous thank-you to all who helped and supported us in our very restrained Fritillary Sunday. The meadow was beautiful, probably the best display of fritillaries I have seen, and special thanks to Robin for organising the plant stall on the churchyard wall. From the meadow and the plant stall we raised nearly £500 for church funds.
Secondly, we were sad to learn on Sunday morning of Paul’s and Nicci’s decision to retire and move away from Ducklington. We knew this was coming eventually but the decision still caused some dismay, not least the date of Paul’s final service on the 11th of July. We wish Paul and Nicci all the best in their retirement and the move to (hopefully) Tring.
The news will put St Bartholomew’s into an interregnum which means that we as a PCC and congregation will have to run the church and parish ourselves until a new appointment is made. Inevitably this will mean additional work and responsibilities for all of us, especially the Churchwardens who become responsible for maintaining services and overseeing the administration of the parish.
As part of our search for a new Rector we need to create a Parish Profile. This is the document that candidates will read to get their first feel of the parish and it will influence their decision whether to apply or not. The Parish Profile is our opportunity to have a good hard think about where we see St Bartholomew’s in five years’ time. What is our vision for St Bartholomew’s? What is going to be the church’s role for the congregation, the community, the school, other community and church groups, etc. etc? What are our key tasks, strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities?
If we can answer these questions effectively then it will influence the type of priest that we are looking for, and the qualities of that priest. I presume that the creation of the Parish Profile is ultimately the responsibility of the PCC, but we need to be inclusive and not forget that St Bartholomew’s is a parish church and therefore needs to serve the whole community of Ducklington-with-Hardwick. What do non-church attending parishioners want from their church? What does the attending congregation want from their church?
Assembling answers to these questions will be no small task, but as a start we would ask you to give serious thought to the questions raised and discuss them with as many other village residents as possible to get their opinions. We will work out a method of collecting the responses in the next few weeks, and all input will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Please remember in your prayers to ask for God’s blessing on St Bartholomew’s during what is inevitably going to be a more complicated and challenging time without Paul and Nicci. It is surprising just how much they were involved in all aspects of church and village life. We found out at the first of the hand-over meetings!
Roger & Gill