“I am able to release the dates when Rita and I will be leaving “St Mary Magdalene and moving to Great Malvern Priory. Our last Sunday here will be 27th May 2018. I will be collated as vicar of Great Malvern Priory on Sunday, 24th June 2018 at 6pm by Bishop John, the Diocesan Bishop of Worcester. Great Malvern is off Junction 7 of the M5 motorway and takes approximately one hour 50 minutes by car. The Priory will put on a buffet meal after the service. More details will follow, but if you’re able to come and support Rita and I, you would be most welcome. Until 27 May, life will continue as usual and I would be glad to support anybody pastorally to the best of my ability.”
“At its recent meeting, the PCC decided that during the interregnum, Valerie Gaskell, who will have finished her term as churchwarden, will become Pastoral Coordinator and take responsibility for the ministry rota. Nigel Birkett is stepping down as Treasurer and will be succeeded by Christopher Mainstone. Nigel has agreed to be Project Manager for the outstanding work we have to do, which includes enlarging the coffee shop.
Also at that meeting we PCC meeting, Nigel gave us some challenging news. Following an abseil survey, the resulting report has highlighted some serious problems with the tower. The remedial work that needs to be completed in the next five years will cost approximately £610,000. The church tower will need to be inspected yearly to check that it continues to be safe. Therefore, today, I am launching the Tower Appeal. Although it is hoped that grant giving bodies will contribute significantly, the church will have to raise funds. One of the ways we propose to do this, is to allocate the profit from our coffee shop to the appeal. We will need to think of creative ways of raising money too, and to this end, we are setting up a Tower Appeal Group. Nigel and I are looking for volunteers who will help get our appeal off the ground. Please see us if you can help.
This is not good news but we have, as a church, worked together very successfully in the past, and we are hopeful that what Simon Jenkins calls, in his seminal book, “England’s Thousand Best Churches”, “… the noblest parish church tower in England” will be restored to its former glory.
The PCC also passed the design suggested for a new cross above the pulpit. This will be made by a local blacksmith and will be paid for by a legacy. We are in the process of submitting a faculty application.
We are living in a time of change and we need to keep praying for all the ministry and mission that goes on here at St Mary Magdalene.”
The TV is now fixed to screen the peregrines and we are hopeful that they may begin to use their new nesting box. We have been most grateful to Coomber’s Alarms who have fitted the cameras and equipment at cost price. The set up is probably the most up-to-date and technically refined in the country. The cameras will broadcast the activity in 4k picture quality which means that we should be able to see these magnificent birds in full splendour.
I am delighted to report that our Lay Minister/Reader, Ronnie King, has been asked to be Mayor’s Chaplain from April 2018. The new mayor will be Cllr Catherine Herbert and she and her husband live in our parish. Ronnie will accompany the mayor on some of her engagements and lead prayers at the council meetings. Please pray for Ronnie as he prepares to take on this important role.
Tomorrow, Sunday 21st January, we are looking at the problem of suffering during our Worship@5 service. Why does a loving God allow it to happen? We all experience suffering ourselves and in others and it is good to explore what the Bible says.
If you’ve never been to a Worship@5 service, they are 45 minutes long, begin with coffee from 4.30pm onwards and are designed to be very accessible. Why not invite a friend and come along?
“Last week, Valerie Gaskell, as Church Warden, gave the official announcement that I had accepted a new position as Incumbent of Great Malvern Priory in Worchester Diocese. This announcement caught many of you by surprise and so I explained how God led us to that decision. If you missed this, copies of what I said will be available at the back of the church today. As it stands, it looks as if our last Sunday here will be in late May. Rita and I have been overwhelmed by your love and support at this challenging time. We have loved our time here and the work continues. The PCC meets on Wednesday to discuss this and other important issues. If you are elected on the PCC, please do try to come.”
The 6th February 2018 marks the 66th anniversary of the accession to the throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. On the nearest Sunday to that date we shall hold a Festal Evensong service to celebrate the longest reign of any British monarch and to remember how she has held to the promise she had made on her 21st birthday when she said, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong”.
The service will be at 6.30pm on Sunday 4th February 2018 at St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton.
Refreshments after the service.
As last year, we shall be joining with St John’s to celebrate their Patronal Festival next Sunday the 21st January. We have also been invited to share lunch with them at “The Retreat” which is the restaurant at The Cornerhouse Hotel, just yards from the church. This was a lovely occasion last year and I would highly recommend it. Cost for two courses is £14.95, for three courses, £17.95. Can you please add your name to the list at the back of the church and indicate your choice of courses. Payment will be on the day at the restaurant. Final date for names is Sunday 31st December, at the 10am service.
The TV camera to monitor the peregrines will be shortly set up in the North Aisle ready for the breeding season. The tower will be out of action until this is complete but we are confident that tower tours will be able to resume in the summer months. We are planning a peregrine day in March.