Priest's Page...

'Maureen's Musings'

January 2010

This month sees my first anniversary here in Pattingham. I don't know where the year has flown to - but I suppose with the ups and downs of operations and hospital stays, that is not surprising. Here's hoping that 2010 will be a whole lot healthier - or at least accident free!

Starting from the first Sunday in January. I shall be printing the readings and collect - especially for those who want to worship at 8 o'clock, but they may be of interest to those coming for the 10am service too. And at the end of the month, don't forget that we have a '5th Sunday'- when we will have a new informal Family Service at 10am ; then refreshments ; then Matins at 11 am. I am still finalising the details, but I hope you will find it a bit different and thought provoking. There will, as before, be a Communion held at 6.30 pm.

The PCC finished last year contemplating a rather large `hole' in our finances for 2010. After negotiation with the diocese, we were able to secure some concessions that will help a bit - but it seems likely that - recession or no recession - we must address the shortfall between our inevitable outgoings and our incomings.

I am told that it is a number of years since a formal Christian Stewardship Campaign was held in the village. We will almost certainly be putting that right in 2010 and I expect to have lots more news about that in the months to come. We have also had to look at the amounts we charge for weddings and funerals. Part of these fees are statutory - over which we have no control. But part are also at the discretion of the PCC and incumbent. So some charges are going up (no surprise there) but I retain some freedom to vary them in instances of hardship etc. What is important to stress is that all people - regardless of circumstances, are welcome to worship with us at St Chad's (not forgetting St Mary's too!) And Baptism is free!

But lest that all starts sounding rather gloomy, I would also like to say that I am sure 2010 will hold lots of fun things too! Certainly if we can organise any more entertaining evenings such as that when the RAF Cosford Band came to play for us in late November, then I think no-one would complain... And a generous donation for'Help the Heroes' was raised too. Well done one and all.

One or two folk have asked me about preparing for Confirmation. I would like to start one (or possibly two) confirmation groups in late January - with a view to joining in the proposed confirmation service in Perton in April. Although if it turns out that there are a really large number of people wanting to be confirmed, I might even be able to persuade the Bishop to come and give us our own service.... it all depends on you. So, if you know of anyone aged 11-16 who would be interested in exploring what confirmation is all about, please let me know in the next few weeks. Likewise if any adults (16 - 106) would like to discuss what is involved, then I would love to hear from you.

Confirmation is open to any baptised Christian who would like to enter more fully into the life and work of the church. It is the service where you get to `confirm' for yourself the promises made on your behalf at your baptism or christening service and where the gift of the Holy Spirit is 'confirmed' on you by the Bishop. It is usually the means by which Christians become full members of the Church of England and demonstrate this by partaking the bread and wine of Holy Communion. It can be held at any age - so just because you `missed' being confirmed as a teenager, don't think that you have missed your opportunity. These days more and more adults are being confirmed and often discover that it adds a whole new dimension to their worship and life in Christ. So don't be shy - make it a New Year's Resolution!
God behind us in the past;

Christ before us, the way ahead;
Christ beside us in this moment;
Christ beneath us in our weakness;
Christ above us to shield us - beneath the shadow of his wings we are safe;
Christ between us to bind us in the unity of his love;
Christ in us, equipping us with his all-sufficient grace.
Thus armed, guided and protected, we face the New Year - Amen.

God bless and protect you in the year ahead.