Outlook 17
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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From the Rector
From the Rector – or Vicar? I opened the door of St Mary’s Church and walked in. A visitor was standing right behind the door and was rather startled when I opened it. A familiar, but disembodied, voice from behind the pillar called across to the visitor, “Oh, here’s our vicar”. Rose Wild, writing in The Times in 2013, says, “Vicar – take care to use this word accurately, as it is not a generic for priest, parson, clergyman, etc. In the Church of England, a Vicar is the incumbent, appointed to act as priest of a parish from which, formerly, he or she would not have received tithes, but rather a stipend. By contrast, a Rector is the incumbent of a parish where, formerly, he or she would have been entitled to all the tithes. Vicar (and Rector) should not be applied to other categories of Anglican cleric.” A Chaplain (Padre) is the title given to a priest who works with an organisation or specific group of people, who are served by that priest in their occupation, unlike Rectors or Vicars whose work is determined by a parish geographical boundary and therefore a person’s place of residence. The gift of Chaplaincy is that it invites the Christian community, represented by an individual, or even a team, to bring a recognised Christian presence into an organisation. Framework of care Chaplains work with others in an organisation to support a framework of care that may already exist. Those in Chaplaincy should not give the impression that they have the monopoly of truth, nor indeed any prerogative in care. This applies equally to priests in parishes. The Christian brings a specific approach which speaks of a belief in the existence of God, a God whose love is inclusive, all encompassing, non-judgemental and unconditional. This does not avoid the realities that are presented when life mercilessly piles on pain, suffering and muddle. Rather it confronts head on, and challenges with compassion, seeking to find a way forward that is life enhancing. The Gospel is the foundation for this approach and is the stuff of the Easter story. I am privileged to work as Chaplain with Ipswich Town Football Club, Woodbridge Royal British Legion, the Seckford Foundation, the Armed Forces and the Masonic Province of Suffolk. Each organisation presents different demands, but all are seeking, if only obliquely, a formal Christian presence on which they can rely and to whom they can turn. From your Rector! And with very best wishes for Easter Kevan S McCormack ? Editor’s note: Since writing this article the Rector has had the honour of being appointed a Chaplain to the Queen.