This article first appeared in the May edition of Itchen Valley News
Alex Pease retires
At the Annual Parochial Church Meeting in March Alex thanked the very many of us who had supported him in his ministry, with a special mention for Lucy and Beccy Clark.
I, as Lay Chair of the PCC responded, using as my reference Mathew, chapter 25, verse 23, “Well done, good and faithful servant” and I will paraphrase what I said not only on behalf of those present but I believe on behalf of us all.
“You may remember that this quote is taken from the parable of the talents, particularly the servant who was given two talents and returned to his master with four and I suggested that this situation was comparable to Alex’ time here in the Itchen Valley.”
Addressing Alex, I continued:
“You first came to us as a curate some 9 years ago, fresh faced and still wet behind the ears and we have so thoroughly enjoyed the benefit of your strong leadership ever since. Andrew Micklefield left us all too soon but bequeathed to you solid foundations upon which to build your extraordinary ministry. A period immediately followed, during which you loyally kept your own council and used it to listen, to learn and to prepare for what was to follow.
Alex, it was on 15th April, 2018 that you were installed as our Priest in Charge or Rector as we prefer to call you. That was the start of a truly inspired journey, led by you, hand in hand with God, with us as willing followers.
If anyone has any doubt as to what Alex has achieved over these last three years you need only read this year’s magnificent Annual Report from cover to cover. Whilst Alex has not initiated everything reported in this tome, he has had an inspirational impact on every single item and on so many other things that are not written up.
Each one of us will have our own reflections of the way in which Alex’s ministry has touched our lives. Whilst I have many, a few that spring to my mind are:
- Your emotive invocation of ‘Come Holy Spirit’, at the beginning of every service;
- Many inspirational sermons;
- Such frankness, modesty and humbleness when leading the marriage course;
- Your regular visits to our pubs and Brew with a View, to engage with the widest community, and perhaps to enjoy the odd slice of Ina’s delicious gluten free cakes;
- Magical river baptisms;
- The growth of modern worship, alongside traditional services;
- The sheer boldness of some of your moves, many of which have not come from the training ground; and
- That trilby hat.
However, Alex, we believe that behind the scenes, all this has been a great team effort; you have a fantastic right-hand lady.
Lucy: we know that you are always there, coming up with ideas, encouraging, promoting patience and perseverance and picking up the pieces when not everything is quite right. You are Alex’s rock. Be sure we recognise this, we love you for it and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Fellow parishioners, I wish to propose a humongous vote of thanks to Alex and Lucy for all the amazing work they have done for us and the parish at large, over the last 9 years.“
I closed with: “Oh Rector and Lucy, you started with two talents and now we have four. Thank you, thank you.
May God bless you with a long and very peaceful retirement.”
Holy Week, from Palm Sunday though to Easter Day was exceedingly busy with a variety of services every day. The great joy was to be back in church on Easter Sunday, albeit in limited numbers, and that despite the limitations of the COVID restrictions some 130 people attended services either in person or via Zoom.
Following the protocol of the diocese, the church is now in mourning, honouring the death of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and we send our condolences to HRH Her Majesty the Queen and all his family.
On a different note, I will mention that a brand new audio-visual system has been installed in St Mary’s, Easton. It is being used for most services, traditional and modern. We seek out those, of any age, who have an interest in electronics and who would like be trained as operators. Meanwhile, to celebrate the systems arrival and its capabilities, we plan a Mega Worship bash on Sunday 4th July. It will be a great occasion, when we shall be singing from the rooftops – put it in your diaries.
During May, Judith and I are particularly looking forward to receiving on 5th May our second jabs but more importantly Ascension Day is on Thursday 13th May, an important event that I always consider under-celebrated. However, we are hatching a plan for a simple early morning service at dawn followed by bacon sandwiches. Details to be published shortly.
Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit entered and emboldened the Apostles to undertake their various ministries, is on Sunday 23rd May.
Let us hope that we are likewise encouraged to further spread the word and the love of God though the Valley and beyond.
Theo Mezger, Lay Chair PCC