This Month's Magazine Article
So where are we now?
Well, at least we now know that no-one applied to be interviewed for the role of Incumbent of the Parish of The Good Shepherd in the first round - so it’s onwards and upwards because we do need to stay positive and realistic within our disappointment.
First of all there are a large number of Parishes in interregnum in Manchester Diocese and therefore plenty of options to choose from for a curate looking for their first Parish, or even an established incumbent looking for a change of Parish. The Good Shepherd is not the easiest of Parishes – 5 worship centres and 5 Church schools alone is a lot for anyone to take on without even considering all the changes that are coming as the Diocesan reconstruction gains momentum. The Parish will be advertised internally for a little longer but the probability now is that the Archdeacon and Area Dean will both push for our vacancy to be advertised nationally as soon as possible, which means that the Wardens, Ministry Team and PCC are continuing to work hard to keep everything going as normally as
possible and are looking towards Easter before a new incumbent might be in place. I do know that both the Archdeacon and Area Dean have our Parish very much in their prayers and that they are doing the best they can to ensure that the right person is appointed as soon as humanly possible.
And what can we do to support them? We can pray for them and for our Bishops as they try to discern what – and who – is right for God’s plan for The Parish. We can continue to develop all the exciting projects that are currently underway in our Churches across the Parish so that we have a busy and outward looking faith community, working hard for the areas in which we are set, to offer. We can support each of the 5 worship centres within our Parish to the best of our ability – if there are any decisions in the fullness of time to change the number of worship centres that we presently have they are not ours to make. The Bishops will make those difficult decisions based on a wide range of issues but in the meantime we need to support the mission of each of our Churches to bring the love of God and the Good News of Jesus to all.
Moving forward during this period of interregnum there will be some practical changes that we need to make to enable us to provide the best worship for us all that we can. Finding clergy to cover all our Churches has not been easy since Roger retired, especially as so many other churches are searching for cover, too. We have come up with a format which is different but which will enable us to offer services regularly until someone is appointed. Our August services will be United Services in 4 of our 5 Churches at 10.30am each Sunday as they have now been for many years – the details will be published in next month’s magazine. From September the first Sunday of each month will be a United Service at 10.30am. The second Sunday will be Eucharistic service in each Church at either 9.30am or 11.00 am as now. The third Sunday of the month will be a Service of the Word in each Church at their normal service times and the 4th Sunday of the month will be a Shared Service, alternating Churches, with St Gabriel’s and St James at 9.30am and St Michael’s and St Peter’s at 11.00. There is a 5th Sunday of the month in October and we have managed to find cover to give a Eucharistic service in each of the 4 Churches. Had we stayed with trying to find cover for each Church every Sunday we would have been trying to find 36 cover clergy whereas, making the changes that we have, we needed 20 cover clergy and have managed to find them. Holy Trinity will continue to have services every Thursday afternoon at 3.30pm, the first of the month being a Eucharistic service.
I would just ask you to realise that clergy are not just needed for Sunday services. Sheila and I are also busy with Baptisms, funerals and weddings, and I must thank Revd George Reeves, Revd Miles Haworth and Revd Adam Robertson for their help with these occasional offices as well as many clergy across the Diocese who have kindly helped us with cover so far, especially Revd Canon Ian Jorysz, who has been wonderfully generous with his time, Revd Philip Brierley, our Area Dean and our Archdeacon for their help with cover. I do appreciate that some of you may not like our new service pattern, but I do hope you understand why it has to be done, and I do urge you to give it a try - I hope that Churches will try to arrange lifts and help for those who might struggle to get to United or Shared services. It is in difficult situations like this that we need to work together and show the Diocese that we are a Parish that is pulling together in love, faith and determination until our new incumbent is found.
Love and blessings to you all.
Revd Pat Lodge