A letter from the Vicarage – Rev’d Andy Stand

I wonder how do you approach the passing of time marked by each of your birthdays? Are you one who is quite happy to treat each birthday as just another day, content to let those nearest and dearest to you mark it with presents and cards (as long as they are nothing too lavish) but otherwise just following your usual everyday routines? Or do you book it as annual leave at the earliest possible opportunity, insistent that whatever else you do on your birthday, it will not be spent doing anything as routine and humdrum (and as hated?) as work?!

Many of you will probably realise that my preferred option is to try and ignore it and treat each birthday as if they were a normal day. This is mainly because, I don’t particularly want to make a fuss, nor be made a fuss of – I will at this stage hold my hands up and acknowledge that this is slightly hypocritical of me as, as many of you will have experienced first hand, I am not in any way averse to making a public fuss during services of anyone else whose birthday I am aware of!

Rumour does have it though, that this month, I might be marking what might be described as a significant birthday – you know: one of those birthdays that ends in a zero (and no I am not about to retire – all those of you who think I look like I might be 70!).

To celebrate my reaching such a grand old age we will be having an ‘Open House’ at the vicarage, 11 Jasmine Close, on Saturday 6th October between the hours of 10 a.m and 12.30 p.m. and between 2 p.m. and 4.30 p.m.; if you are free and you feel so inclined, please do come along and join us. It will be nice to see you (and please no presents)! In recent weeks, we have put notices of the ‘Open House’ into both churches and onto each of the weekly sheets across the team. As we have done so, many of you will have heard me state that I am actually in denial of the whole significant birthday thing! That isn’t all together true – obviously if it were we wouldn’t be opening the house up to mark it – as stated already I do prefer to treat each birthday as just another day, and yet this one  has felt different to me than say my 30th or my 40th birthdays did. And I don’t think it is that I desperately want to remain youthful (yes, that boat probably sailed a long while back!). I would prefer not to be feeling the twinges of arthritis, and have other symptoms of the ageing process, but c’est la vie!

As I approach this landmark birthday and reflect upon it, I am going to try and be thankful for all that the years have held for me, and the potential of each of the years that I may have left. I may reflect upon the place of God in my life over those years, and that each new day brings the potential to experience and deepen my relationship with Him further still. As much as anything I want to honour and celebrate the blessings that have been my life to date, the people and the experiences that it has contained; its joys and its sorrows.

Please do join us in that.

I ought to mention other events this month: the visit of Bishop John to Whittington (7th Oct); and Harvest Festival services (14th). Please do join us at those as well.

Every Blessing, Andy.

Revd. Andy Stand

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