I am so grateful that May is now over!
There was lots to give thanks for in May, however, like my daughter’s wedding celebration in Gloucestershire – the sun shone, the lambs bleated, the venue was stunning and we all had a week end of family, friends and fun!
On the church front, we had our SPCM (Special Parochial Church Meeting) at St Paul’s ably led by the inimitable Dr Patricia and we now have our first joint PCC of the new Parish of Baxenden St John and Accrington St Paul! I am so grateful for the hard work of our treasurers, church secretaries and our two previous PCCs. We are still desperately searching for a new treasurer, please pray about that …and if you know of anyone, do let us know!
We also launched Thy Kingdom Come – ten days of prayer between Ascension day to Pentecost, especially focusing on praying for five friends to come to know the love of Jesus. Prayer works in so many mysterious ways, not least, it heightens our consciousness, so when we meet those five for whom we have been praying, we are more open to the Spirit prompting us to share our faith with them. Now, despite being a Vicar, I often get scared about talking about my faith. But I am not scared to tell people, ‘I was praying for you’ or ‘Church was good on Sunday’, or ‘I would love you to join us at the Jubilee Bash!’
However, May was also Miserable. We all got COVID at the glorious wedding ad the whole of the extended Marshall family across three generations came down with the bug. You can imagine how concerned we were for our elderly parents. Despite headaches, coughs, loss of taste and smell, tiredness and mouth ulcers, we all came through and are now gradually returning to work.
Time for Reflection
I have a bit of a reputation for over-work, so was quite struck when I realised I had read three hundred pages of Daniel Deronda by George Eliot! I must have been ill! Illness can have benefits; for me I had ten leisurely days spent with my youngest, Zach. And what a joy that was – I think we discussed things we had never discussed before, it felt healing, encouraging, important. And then there was the gift of rest, slowing down, thinking, sleeping, reading and reflecting. I think I needed that time, for God, for you, for our future.
Next steps for the Church
Today, I am writing up some notes about what has come out of this time out and they will be sent round to the two Advisory Groups from the two churches – six people in each group who I meet with regularly to pray and discern the will for our church together. Once they have prayed and responded we will then feed into the PCC, as your elected representatives and they too will discuss, pray and discern with us all the next steps. Watch this space!
I leave with you a verse from the Bible that I find helpful in the very darkest of times.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8.28
God bless you all, Amanda