From the Vicar

Dear Friends

A few months
ago Bishop Jonathan agreed that this coming summer I should take a 3 month
sabbatical. This will begin on 12th May. It’s recommended that clergy take one every 10
years; I’ve been ordained for 12, so it’s overdue!

Here’s a
quote from the Church of England Guidelines for sabbaticals which is quite

The word sabbatical is
derived from the same root as Sabbath. A fundamental purpose of a sabbatical is to set aside time for mental
renewal, spiritual re-creation and physical rest, so as to return refreshed in
one’s ministry. To avoid possible misunderstanding,
it is clear that a sabbatical is not intended to be • simply an extended holiday. • doing the
same job in a different location. •
solely used for academic study.

After 12
years I do feel in need of rest, reflection and renewal and my aim is to come
back fully ready to lead the churches into the next stage of their life and
growth. I will be living in the Vicarage for most of the three months, Carole
and the boys will continue to be involved at St. David’s, Holmbridge and pretty
much carry on with life as normal.

I will be
doing a number of things; going on retreat, engaging in some study and doing
some research visiting churches and Christian organisations throughout the

study and research I will be looking at one of the biggest questions the church
faces in the western world today:

How do we make and
nurture followers of Jesus in a society where people are busier and have less
free time than in the past?

Finding an
effective response or responses to this is crucial for the future health and
growth of the church in this country. It is an under researched area and I hope
to contribute something which will be of practical value not only to
Netherthong and Holmbridge churches but to the wider church as well. I have
been asked to write a paper/booklet on my findings.

I am
thankful that so many of you contribute so much to the life of our churches and
that many things will continue while I’m away. Our Team Rector, Sean is very
supportive and will ensure that Sunday services, funerals, baptisms and any
weddings will be covered by the rest of the Team clergy for those 3 months.

I look
forward to returning towards the end of August rested, and having learned a great
deal, ready to work with you all to develop and grow our churches further in
the years to come.

With love in