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Now that we are merely days (hours?) away from Father Nigel being made Rector of St Mary’s, Woodbridge and Priest in Charge of St Mary’s, Great Bealings, we remain delighted that it will be by a live service and in the church, the first such ‘post-Covid’ one in the Diocese, we believe.

According to current rules as a ‘one-off’ event, the much-modified liturgy will be accessible in person to only thirty, but we are hopeful that a recording will be on line afterwards. We look forward to such time when the whole parish – and possibly, by then, ‘united benefice’- may join together in celebration and also welcome visitors from Mayfield and Five Ashes.

We knew that the interregnum would be a challenge, but could never have ‘written the script’ for the last five months of it! It has been a privilege to have held our roles during that time, but - with the ever-present risk of omitting someone - we should very much like to thank so many people, who have helped us to ‘keep the show on the road’.

· To everyone who, in those early worrying days of lockdown, seized the baton to keep us in touch with each other - using phone, letter and/or any number of electronic methods – and has continued to do so

· To those, who have continued to feed the momentum and fellowship within church groups and organise others from home

· To Rev Dr John and Rev Peter, following every change of instruction to run services in both churches, for people they have supported, the funerals they have conducted, their guidance and humour

· To Rev Siw, herself ‘confined to barracks’, but keeping us all in her prayers and willing always to chat

· To Andy, following his ‘crash course’ towards the priesthood with common sense and equanimity

· To the Elders, supporting many, particularly maintaining contact with care home residents and continuing our daily thread of prayer

· To the Junior Church team, producing thought-provoking and accessible personalised materials online, promoting two services at Great Bealings and running regular Zoom coffee meetings

· To David and Simon for their technical expertise and punishing physical work in installing WiFi in the church and, with Stephen and Virginia, for their good sense and support throughout

· To the PCC, managed by Stephen and making a range of contributions to our collective life

· To David, Anne, Michael and Kit, caring for matters financial

· To Rita for all of her recording and incredible progress with ‘Communications’ in such a short time, assisted by David, Virginia & Nick, to Bob for his musical research, to all who have agreed to be recorded, and to Tim Curtis for generously sharing some of his professional expertise and offering us his time

· To the Deanery – Rev Canon Clare, Rev Paul, The Ven Annette and Mary have always been on hand to advise on procedural matters - and to the Diocese, especially Archdeacon Jeanette, Diane and Dawn

· To Heather, who kept us ‘on the straight and narrow’ in the early weeks, to Katherine, who is growing into her new job with relish and has done so much already and to Pat, who has continued to compile meticulous minutes of our meetings

· To those who helped prepare the church for re-opening and those who are again cleaning or dusting the building and maintaining the vessels/linen

· To Sue, for re-organising the shop to meet the new statutory guidance, for her enthusiasm, support and sound judgement, and to all of the shop volunteers

· To all who have staffed the church during periods of ‘Private Prayer’ and welcomed young musicians and many visitors

· To all who have helped to create the order and atmosphere of ‘Public Worship’, making it a comfortable cross between our usual ‘8 o’clock’ and ‘10 o’clock’ services. To the bell ringers, creating socially-distanced melodies on the church path, to Rev Peter, Rev Dr John and Andy, to our servers, to Bob, John (who also maintained the playing of the organ during lockdown) and Andrew for their music and to Val and her team of sidesmen

· To all who have oozed optimism, enthusiasm and encouragement

For all of the incredibly positive work done in so many ways, we are very grateful.

Please do carry on …

Finally, as we extend a huge welcome to Father Nigel and Liz at the start of the next phase of the life of the parish and continue to care for each other, please accept our love, prayers and best wishes for you, your family and friends.

Barbara & Veronica


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