Almost exactly one year ago I wrote the article for this newsletter as I was preparing to be ordained Deacon and to join the people of the parishes of Wilden, Colmworth, Ravensden, Keysoe and Bolnhurst in our journey together with God. Now, one year later I am getting ready for the next stage of ministry. To be ordained Priest and, sadly, to prepare to say goodbye to the amazing people of these villages later this summer, as I move to St Paul’s, Bedford.
During this last year I have seen God at work among the people of these villages day by day:
I have loved leading the people of God in this place in daily and weekly worship in our churches and in our schools: the regular offering of thanks and praise to God and of prayer for our lives and the lives of the world around us.
I have been honoured to be a part of the major milestones in people’s lives, from baptising babies, talking to children about transition to secondary school, preparing teenagers for confirmation, planning marriage services (the first of which I will take this summer), and taking funerals.
It has also been a joy to experience the great community spirit evidenced across so many activities in our villages, from events such as coffee mornings and community lunches to fetes and harvest festivals, and many many more.
Throughout the year it has been a huge privilege to share in your times of joy and celebration, and an even bigger privilege to walk alongside those going through the toughest of times, of illness, bereavement, loneliness and grief.
After my ordination as Priest at Sharnbrook, by the Bishop of Bedford, I will preside at a service of Holy Communion for the first time at 4pm on 2nd July at St Mary’s Keysoe. The sharing of bread and wine in the Eucharist, in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice for us nearly 2,000 years ago, has been the central act of Christian worship for nearly as long as there have been Christians. In this act, week by week, we come together as a community (hence the name Holy Communion) with those in church and with the wider community of Christians across time and space celebrating with us. In this act we give thanks to God (Eucharist means thanksgiving). In this act we are fed physically and spiritually and are sent out to do God’s work in the world (the Latin word Mass has its root in this sending).
As I preside for the first time I will rejoice in celebrating Jesus’ saving acts with the community here, of which I am proud to have been a small part. I will give thanks for the past year, for the love and support I have received in this place. And as Rev. Tim sends us out with the words of the dismissal “go in peace to love and serve the Lord”, as I am sent on from this place to love and serve the Lord elsewhere, I will continue to hold the people of this wonderful part of North Bedfordshire in my heart and in my prayers.