One of the many things which impressed me when reading the Parish Profile earlier this year was the existence of a Ministry Team. This is quite a rarity in many rural churches in the Church of England! And it is a strong testimony to the foresight and wisdom of my predecessor, Alex Pease-as he shared his ministry with an expanding number of others, suitably qualified, who can contribute their gifts (especially in preaching, pastoral care or leading in worship or prayer) for the building up of God’s people in the Itchen Valley.
All those in the Ministry Team are expected to have gone through some form of training. For most this means the Bishop’s Commission in Mission within the diocese of Winchester. And the great news is that three more members of the team (James Greig, Julia Wright and Tim Clapp) were licensed last weekend at Winchester Cathedral by the Bishop of Southampton.
So our warm congratulations go to each of them. And let’s continue to pray for them-as well as for Gerry Stacey, John & Nicky Barber, James Wright, Simon Ffennell and Lavinia Owen-that they will each grow in the ‘needful gifts of grace’ for their respective ministries here. We had an excellent first meeting together in the Rectory on Monday 13th and I look forward to many more such gatherings-to plan and pray for God’s work to flourish amongst us.