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Monthly letter

 Firstly, Confirmation.

I have now managed to arrange with Bishop Donald a date when he can come to this Benefice to take a service of Confirmation. This will be Sunday 15th October at 10 a.m. We have yet to agree amongst our 5 churches where would be best for this service to be held.

Having arranged a date and time, I am now seeking candidates.

Such an officious title, what this means is, does anyone want to be confirmed?

Maybe someone who comes occasionally to church or Messy Church, there may be people on the fringe of church life who would like to come along for the preparation classes [these are compulsory for anyone who would like to be confirmed] and then to the service.

Indeed, there may be people in our communities who would like to be confirmed, young or old!

What is Confirmation?

Simply it is the opportunity for any person who was baptised as a child to confirm the baptismal promises, the Bishop will then lay his hands on the head of this person and thus confirm the gift of the Holy Spirit, the full membership of the Church, the family of God on that person. Adults who have not been baptised may wish to come along, to be baptised and confirmed by the bishop in the same service, this is a wonderful opportunity and I encourage any adults who would like to be Baptised to consider engaging with this opportunity.

Those who are confirmed are then able to receive the Blessed Sacrament, the bread and the wine that, in the service of Holy Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, becomes for us the body and blood of Jesus and, in accordance with His promises, our Spiritual food, sustenance that draws us closer to Jesus, to God.

I would like to point out however, people who are not confirmed may well still be able to receive this Sacrament, but that is a separate matter for another time!

Please share more widely than just in Church that we will be having Confirmation later this year and then, anyone interested in being confirmed should get in touch with me, The Revd Paul McLeod as soon as possible. I am sure that potential people for confirmation will be able to speak to Churchwardens or other church members first if they would like to before the big step of speaking to me, a more relaxed way to approach this possibility.

I really do hope we can present some people who wish to be confirmed to the Bishop on the 15th October. However, if not, he will still come to The Whittlewood Benefice and take a service on that date, which means we shall only have one United Benefice Service that day.

Secondly. Annual Parochial Church Meetings [APCM’s]

These important meetings, our churches AGM’s are coming up soon.

I would encourage people to attend these meetings, they are the point where you properly get the opportunity to discover what we are doing as church in these parishes, to elect representatives to various bodies and even to ask, what I always hope and pray, will be constructive questions about church life, maybe even to offer suggestions as to how we could be better witnesses to Jesus Christ!

I mentioned earlier that you have the opportunity to vote, to elect people. Here is how this happens.

You elect your parishes Churchwardens, they become the Bishops Officers for a year (of course, they may be re-elected on an annual basis). The constituency that elect the Churchwardens is anyone who lives in the Parish or who is on the Church Electoral Roll. Each Parish would normally have two Churchwardens, this is the case in our parishes, each parish is entitled and encouraged to have the two.

I mentioned the church Electoral Roll just there. This is like our membership list. In order to vote for anyone other than Churchwardens [indeed, according to the rules, to even attend the APCM,] you need to have registered yourself in the Electoral Roll.

If you are not yet on this, each Parish has an Electoral Roll Officer who has forms to allow you, if you're not already on it, to enter yourself onto the Electoral Roll of your parish church.

This year, alongside electing members of the Parochial Church Council’s [PCC’s] there is an additional election which is for Representatives onto Deanery Synod.people are elected to a three year term on Deanery Synod. We are in the Towcester Deanery, on of 6 Deaneries in the Northampton Archdeaconry which is one of 2 Archdeaconries in the Diocese of Peterborough.

The Deanery Synod is there to encourage and enable the mission of God across the whole Deanery, it can make decisions which can influence and shape the future ministry in the

Deanery, however, we more normally look at ways by which we can be encouraged and educated in different and differing aspects of the work of God, respecting very much that the place of Mission is the Parish. The good news is also, there are only three meetings each year!

As the Rural Dean of Towcester, sharing the opportunity of chairing Synod Meetings with the Deanery Lay Chairman, I truly encourage people to stand for Synod and then to engage in the life of the Deanery.

I also, as Rector of The Whittlewood Benefice encourage everyone to come along to our APCM’s that will be held in March/April.

Thirdly. New Administrator

It is with great pleasure that I can confirm that we received a number of applications for the role of Benefice Administrator, we held interviews in January and we appointed Mrs Shirley Williams to this role. Shirley started work in February and is beginning to learn the various tasks that are involved. One of her duties is to be the minute taker at our WPT meetings that happen three times a year, the meetings when all 5 PCC’s come together to look at things that are possible and better arranged as a Benefice (there are some!)

There is a lot for Shirley to get to grips with, so please be patient as we take the time to get up and running. It is though a great relief to know that we have managed to be blessed by God and to have an administrator again.

Fourthly. Thy Kingdom Come.

The Archbishops in the Church of England have invited us all to make a concerted and additional effort for prayer for renewal in the period between Ascension and Pentecost. This has been given the title, Thy Kingdom Come. We have the opportunity to do some things a little differently, maybe a prayer walk, have prayer spaces, in Church, in our Church Schools (it should be school holidays then) or indeed some other possibility, whatever our imaginations and our energy permits.

There is a small group from the WPT that have agreed to look into this. I have not as yet convened the group but am hoping to do so soon, however, if you have any ideas please do let me, or your Churchwardens know (they will forward the ideas to me I am sure).

For more information on this matter, those of you with access to the internet can look it up at https://www.thykingdomcome.global, and it says global at the end of this web address because the prayer period is a global time of prayer! Isn't that wonderful.

Thinking of prayer, I sign off offering prayers for everyone who will read this, for Peter Byng our magazine editor and for the parishes that make up The Whittlewood Benefice. Amen.

Revd Paul



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