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Rector's monthly letter

The role of the laity

It has been a busy month! Not only has the start of the year been marked by an unusually large number of funerals, it has also been the time of year for annual church meetings. These days, the annual church meeting is conducted in such a way as to rapidly discharge our duties under various diverse bits of legislation, before being able to celebrate all that has happened in the past year of church life, and then enjoy a glass of wine and good company.

A part of the meetings I always find very humbling are the various “elections”. I put the word in air-quotes because it is very unusual for them ever to be competitive. However, they are the means by which a church congregation chooses who will be churchwarden/church council members for the next year. They are the ground level of the process by which the laity play their part in the governance of the Church. I say that I find it humbling because I usually choose to sit alone at the front of church, while I chair these meetings as a reminder to myself that each year, I am dependent on the good will of volunteers who offer their time, skill and experience to help run the Church. At each meeting, I can never be sure who will want to support me in the task in the coming year until I am handed the nomination papers, and so, by sitting alone, I become uncomfortably aware that I cannot possible hope to lead the Church in our parish without the help of others.

As usual, we will be commissioning the new PCCs at a service on Ascension Day, praying for them and giving thanks for those whose time of service has come to an end. This year it will be at Longstock Church, on 18th May at 7.30 pm – Lady Joan Appleyard will be our visiting preacher. I hope you will be able to join us, to give thanks for the involvement of the laity in running the Church.

Revd Philip Bowden, Rector