A letter from the Vicarage – Rev’d Andy Stand

Hi Everyone,

How are we all doing? I hope and pray that you are all keeping well and still enjoying the Easter season. Yes, we are still in the Easter season and will be until the feast of Pentecost, that marks the 50th day after Easter, and that we will celebrate in our services on the 19th May.

Before then we will celebrate the feast of the Ascension, 40 days after Easter, on Thursday May 9th with a service at Whittington in the morning (10.00 a.m.) and a deanery service at Claines in the evening (7.00 p.m.). Of course, all are welcome to attend any or all of these services.

The Easter season of course is all about new life, renewed life, resurrected life, and for much of this Easter season I have been thinking about the wings that bring me life.

I have had a number of conversations with different conversation partners over recent months thinking about the things that bring me life and energy; things that lift the spirits; maybe things that I am particularly good at, or from which I derive a certain amount of pleasure in being able to do them well; maybe things that I have a particular talent for or are one of the gifts and skills that I possess. Maybe they are things that bring me into contact with other people, and through those relationships, and doing things together, I can find support and encouragement.

I wonder, what are the things you can think of for yourself that would likewise lift your spirits and energise your whole being? What are the talents and skills that you possess that enable you to work well with others?

St. Paul in various of his letters to the young churches he founded, talked to them about using their various gifts to build up the churches, or as he phrased it, ‘the body of Christ’. In one fairly well known passage from his first letter to the church in Corinth, St. Paul uses the analogy of organs in the human body coming together in their various purposes to contribute to the life of the body they are part of. Is a hand more important than a foot? Or an eye more important than an ear? Each has their role to play, each has their gifts and talents and each should be cherished for them.

I wonder what might your gifts be? What talents do you have? Have you any that lie dormant for want of an avenue in which to express them, in which to use them?

This time, last year, with the extra bank holiday for the King’s Coronation weekend, we were encouraged to be part of the ‘Big Help Out’, and I gather from a news item I heard earlier this week that, that event is to be repeated again this year – watch this space.

Those of us that volunteer for various roles will know what sense of reward can come from performing those roles. I acknowledge that almost all of the roles in our churches, with the exception of mine, are voluntary ones, and I thank all those of you that fulfil them.

Later this month our churches will have their Annual Meetings (St. Mark’s – 12th May; Whittington – 19th). All are welcome to attend those meetings (though you do need to be on the church’s electoral roll to vote) and we are always looking for volunteers to join the church council (PCC) and/or take on other jobs that will assist the smooth running of services and make a contribution to our service to the wider parish and community.

Might you be able to offer some time or energy, to helping out? If you think you could, please do get in touch with me.

Every blessing, Andy.

St. Philip & St. James Parish Church Whittington, Worcs. WR5 2RQ