This Sunday – as I’m sure you all know – we are holding our Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM). It’s basically our parish AGM. We have the opportunity to hear something about our work as a parish over the last eight months, receive a financial report from our treasurer, elect our churchwardens and PCC members. Last year’s APCM was held later than usual in October, principally because lockdown had made it impossible to meet in April and also because the Church authorities were trying to work out if we could legally hold a meeting and have elections online. Thankfully these issues were resolved in time for October and our meeting could go ahead. Responding to rapid and may I say sometimes unwelcome change has been something of a theme these last fourteen months, we have all been tested, almost to breaking point. Yet here we are, still standing – just about! Faith isn’t about inoculating us from the difficulties of life, but providing us with a template, a roadmap, for facing whatever life throws at us. It is sometimes in these difficulties that we do our best theology, and challenges can bring out the best in us. As we move towards a more open society, we need to be careful. I was listening to a sermon by the Bishop of Durham last evening, he suggested that we walk carefully and with consideration as we face the next few months – wise words, we will heed his advice.
As we look to the future my thanks to everybody who has, these past months, worked so hard to keep the church of St Nicholas connected and alive. To our Wardens and PCC members. To Hayley, our administrator, working from home. Special thanks are due to Hilary, Susan Welsh and all the parents and children of Children’s church for producing two magnificent online productions of the Nativity and Passion, they are such an important resource for all of us. To Mother Eileen and Fr Alan who have been such an encouragement and support working so hard behind the scenes. To David for responding musically when I was really wondering what we might be able to offer. To Anne who has worked to keep the pastoral group connected, Monica, our Tower Captain, having to navigate through a minefield of advice and legislation to keep the bells ringing when appropriate. Finally for all of you who have worked and planned to restore music, food and joy to our church when finally we are allowed to meet again.
With my prayers and grateful thanks to all of you.
Please note that the Parish Mass is back to the original time of 10.30am with a Family Mass on the first Sunday of each month. Children’s Church will resume back at church (St Denys) on 27th June
It is Ascension Day on Thursday this week (which we celebrate at St Nick’s on Sunday) and I’d like to share with you (with his permission) this lovely poem for the occasion written by priest/poet Malcolm Guite from his book ‘Sounding the Seasons’.
We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings,
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed .
With every blessing