As I write we are about to come to Ascension Day (May 26) in the Church calendar, the day when Jesus returned to be with His Father in heaven. My training Vicar used to describe this in terms of a game of football (no surprise, he was a big Manchester United fan!). The first half comprised Jesus’ coming into the world as baby at Bethlehem, his earthly life, ministry, death, and resurrection. The Ascension is the half time point in the match, and the second half is the period we are now in waiting for Jesus to return again. The Ascension is also significant in that it symbolises a ten-day period of waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, which the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have used to invite Christians all over the world to pray for five people who do not yet know Jesus to come to know him through the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative. Hopefully, you may be reading this before Pentecost (5 June) in which case I would like to extend a warm welcome to you to attend either our 8 am or 10 am services that day as we remember not only the Spirit’s arrival but also give thanks for the Queen’s 70-year reign as our monarch. Special refreshments will be available after both services – do stay and join us!
All being well, we will have our new lighter weight chairs in church by then, which I hope you will not only find comfortable but also helpful in terms of being able to be moved around. With the recent reintroduction of our community lunch on the second Tuesday of the month (12 noon-1.30 p.m.), the new chairs (and three new tables – many thanks to the Co-op for both) will I hope be especially useful for those setting and clearing up. We will have a particular Platinum Jubilee focus for our lunch on Tuesday 14 June, so do come and join us. Homemade soup, bread and butter, a cake and tea or coffee for a suggested donation of £3.50 has to be the best deal available in town!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who responded to our Stewardship initiative in Lent. This meant we met our funding target of an extra £108 income per week, indeed exceeded it if you add in over £2,000 of one-off donations. We also received over 60 offers to help or requests for further information about different aspects of our church life. On both counts it was a great response. We have also received in principle support from the Diocesan Advisory Committee for our new extension and no objections to my knowledge from various heritage bodies. So, hopefully we may get the go ahead from the Chancellor for an extension soon and then from the local authority.
With my prayers and best wishes.
Pioneer Team Rector