As village life picks up again and the newsletter is once again full of details about our various activities, we need to remember that Covid is still very much with us. I’m aware of many in our villages who, despite being double vaccinated, have contracted it, and there are many other viruses and ailments lurking ready to catch the unwary.
I have to count myself among those who have not escaped unscathed, and because of this I am having, temporarily, to cut down on what I do until I have regained stamina and full health—so for the next month at least I have to cut down the number of services I lead. Some will, as now, be led by the laity, but as we have a shortage of retired Anglican clergy able to assist, we may have to adapt to a scaled down pattern. But what matters is that we do meet to worship together, so please support all those people who have agreed to lead services.
Two neighbouring dioceses, Lincoln and Leicester, are looking to new ways of Ministry by establishing what they call Mission Areas (Lincoln) or Minster models (Leicester) in place of the parish and deanery pattern we have all known for so long. This will mean that large hub churches are set up, which will resource the small churches, with the intention of reducing clergy numbers and using remaining clergy more effectively. The financial burden on small churches would be reduced, as they would no longer have to pay the full cost of a full time (or even part time ) incumbent. There is much debate about these schemes, and it will be interesting to see just how they work out. Many other dioceses have announced cuts in the number of stipendiary clergy.
As November begins we enter what the Church calls the Kingdom Season when our thoughts turn to what God’s Kingdom is all about—a time when justice and peace will reign. Remembrance forms part of this, of course, when we hear those wonderful words of the prophet
Micah: He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
The following Sunday is the feast of Christ the King, when we consider how Christ will come again to reign in majesty; a fitting prelude to Advent which begins the following Sunday.
With best wishes