LETTER FROM THE VICARAGE
On this page we reproduce the monthly letter from our Vicar (or occasionally from our Licensed Reader Janice Taylor) as it appears in our parish magazine, the Parish News.
Letter from the vicarage
FROM THE VICARAGE - SEPTEMBER 2019
I do trust you have all had a good summer and had an opportunity to have a bit of a break from the usual busyness of life. Even if we don't go away, August somehow has a more relaxed feel about it, probably because we're all so tuned into the school break and there seems to be a lot less rushing about first thing in the morning.
Our schools of course return after the summer break this month. Some will go back with joy, others with a bit of anxiety, so we hold all our youngsters in our prayers especially those starting school for the first time or are changing schools. We also pray for the teaching and support staff of our school and thank God for their care of our children.
As I sit here, I'm mindful of the constant stream of tractors and trailers passing through the villages stacked high with straw from the harvest. Our farmers are pretty special folk whose tireless labours I admire greatly and thank God for. I know I couldn't do it! So we also give thanks and pray for our farmers and all those who work on the land. This month we celebrate the harvest in our Harvest Thanksgiving on the 29th at our 10.00 service which this year will be in Kirdford. Harvest Thanksgiving is particularly poignant here in our rural Parish where we are so connected to the cycle of the seasons and the rhymes of the land, something which, I for one, can all too easily take for granted.
As you will see from our Parish Prayer Calendar, each week we pray for those living in particular roads and also aspects of our community life. Last Harvest I started to compile a list of all our farms, market gardens, stud farms and small holding etc, so we could pray for them all by name. I don't doubt that my list is in need of amending, either to correct names, add ones that are missing or to take off those places which are no longer in any sort of agriculture or animal care. Please do take a look at the list (which is printed further on) and take time to pray for all our farms by name and those who work on them. If you do have any amendments to the list please let us know ready for our Harvest Thanksgiving service, or any other requests you may have for our Prayer Calendar.
Prayer is a vital part of our journey with Jesus. It doesn't have to be as fancy or as complicated as we might sometimes think. Prayer is simply a time – maybe for just the briefest of moments – when we pause in the busyness of l ife and take time to bring ourselves, and what is on our hearts and minds before God. Sometimes those prayers are to give thanks, sometimes they are to share our concerns, sometimes they are to plead for God's help. God wants to hear them all. Just as any loving parent longs for their children to spend time with them and to hear their thanks, concern or struggles, so God wants us to turn to him as our loving heavenly father. Coming together in our worship, and using familiar prayers, remind us of the greatness of God and his unending love for us, and sharing our times of prayer help us to keep our hearts and minds open to the wider world around us as well as our community on our doorstep.
Part of the vicar's job description is to hold the 'Cure of Souls' of the parish. In other words, my job is to pray for you all each day, which I do when I say the Daily Offices – so it's a bit longer than 'a brief moment'! I too use the Parish Prayer Calendar and I also pray for those who have particularly asked for prayers for whatever reason. Not everyone however feels comfortable asking for prayer. Sadly, some people think because they don't come to church, I, or more importantly God, wouldn't want to know. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course I do. And more importantly God does too. I also appreciate that some folk, for all sorts of reasons, would prefer not to speak to me directly or for their prayers to stay anonymous. That's absolutely fine. In both of our churches we have 'prayer boxes' at the foot of the font where you can use one of the prayer slips or pop a note in the box. It is perfectly fine to ask for a prayer for 'me because …' or 'my friend who ….', or 'my family ….', or simply write 'for John'. God is perfectly capable of understanding who we mean. I will hold these prayers before God for two weeks, but if you would like me to continue beyond then, please say so on the slip and I will be happy to do so.
So as the lazy hazy days of summer begin to draw to a close, I do hope you'll be keeping me busy doing the most important part of my 'job'.