Lucy and I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to all of you who were involved in organising and contributing to the wonderful three parties on Friday evening which marked the end of our ministry in Itchen Valley Parish. Thank you for the food, the drink, the sound system, and the huge amount of organisation and correspondence which must have been involved in getting it off the ground during a pandemic. Thank you also to all those who prayed for good weather. What fun it was!
When we first came to Itchen Valley Revd Andrew Micklefield remarked on how well Itchen Valley organised parties of this kind (“the Itchen Valley specialises in drinks and nibbles”) and, of course, we would usually have had a party like this as the warm-up (or incentive to attend) our Annual Parochial Church Meeting at Avington Park, but because of the pandemic this has not been possible for the last couple of years.
But this really was the party of parties – with sommeliers, chefs with a range of bites to eat (including gluten free), car park marshalls and a rolling group of guests which kept coming and coming. We loved being able to chat to everyone. We so enjoyed the ‘order, order’ from Theo to start the presentations (you should have been the Speaker Theo) and his energetic clapping after each speech (with no lack of enthusiasm even though he had heard our brief addresses three times)!
Most of all we were completely blown away by the stunning Stem and Green flowers and the beautiful glass bowl which you gave to us. Engraved by Phil Lawson Johnston with a picture of each of the churches in the parish and engraved with some very encouraging words, it is something which we will keep at the centre of our family home for the rest of our lives. As with all the best presents, both the flowers and the bowl have greater resonance because the flowers were grown by our very own James Greig in the Mezgers’ field next door to where the party was held and the engraver of the bowl is related both to Gilly Greenwood and Nicky Barber and has a god parent connection to the Wright children – so symbolising the unity of our church community – as Tim Clapp said which makes it so much like a family.
Thank you too for the wonderful speeches from Julia Wright, Tim Clapp and Lavinia Owen – so encouraging and the generous hospitality of Theo and Judith in Jude’s stunning garden. And talking of gardens thank you to all who contributed both to the bowl and to the very generous cheque for us to spend in our garden at The Mill House in Chilland which will significantly assist our plans here!
Thank you all for your great generosity!
I have one more service to lead (Parish Communion on Sunday 25th July) and one wedding to conduct (Freddie Williams) and then we will take a low profile for a few months to allow the very excellent Revd Peter Walker to get his feet under the desk and onto the paths around the Valley. I know that you will welcome him and Georgie here as warmly as you have welcomed Lucy and me and am confident that he will be a great leader for the church community here.
Alex and Lucy Pease