I can hardly believe it, but I’ve been vicar of All Saints with St Frideswyde for three months and five days!
In the past three months, there has been an advent study, Toy Service, Christingle, carols to the elderly, carol singing outside school, Christmas itself, trips into school, trips from schools into church, an Open Table review, a Start Course, ecumenical prayers, local clergy prayers, too many Hub cappuccinos to count, several teacakes, a good number meetings and, of course, lots of biscuits and cake!
It’s gone very fast and yet it feels like I’ve been here for far longer. I feel settled and excited for what is to come. I feel fulfilled and like I’m working hard. I feel a disproportionate amount of love for the people here considering how long I’ve been in post.
I think this church is a really good fit for me. There’s lots going on and people who genuinely like spending time with each other. We had a great PCC/Hub volunteer Christmas social and a lovely Valentines afternoon tea.
The team functions really well, although we’re always keeping our eyes peeled for anybody who wants to get involved! We reach out into the community through the Hub, nursery, toddler group and bereavement group but we would love to do more.
People are genuinely enthusiastic! We have bought 50 Lent books for the congregation to use and we announced this one week with the intention of giving the books out the next week. I was delighted that many people seemed really keen to get their hands on a book!
Sundays are life-giving, and that makes all the difference. You might have noticed by now that I love to sing! There are a number of strong singers in church and it sounds wonderful. It really helps that the words to the hymns are on a projector, too. People’s heads are lifted as they look up which helps with the sound and makes them look positive and happy.
ASSF isn’t a huge church building. We can fit about 150 in, and squeeze in an extra 30 if we absolutely have to. So, I like that when I preside at communion, I don’t feel a mile away from everybody. The altar isn’t far back or high up and that makes it quite an intimate space.
When we give out the bread and wine, people come and stand or kneel at the rail. There isn’t a continuous moving line like in other churches. Instead, everybody waits for the last person to receive the wine and then I dismiss then all at once before the next group of people come up. I say something like ‘as you have shared in communion today, go and share Christ’s light with the world’. It’s one of those cultural things which is very much how we do it here and I think it is so beautiful.
I feel very settled, and I’m so grateful to everybody for their welcome and acceptance, especially when it comes to Sophia. The Good Shepherd were always fab with Soph, and they had time to get used to the idea before she was born and even then it was another year before she could really move anywhere. I really admire how ASSF have just taken to a vicar arriving who comes with a very active toddler.
The first few times Sophia came, other family members were in the congregation so she could get used to it without me needing to keep an eye on her the whole time. As the weeks have gone on, she has come with me more and more. Although it must be strange to have a child trying to play ‘peepo’ from behind the Vicar’s prayer desk during the sermon, or following along behind her as she gives out communion, people seem to have really taken to her. The baristas at the Hub have even learned to make babyccinos at her request!
And as for Nathan, well, he isn’t around at ASSF all that often for obvious reasons (although he did manage to get to the whisky tasting night!). But he has noticed a big difference in me. Nathan was instrumental in me making this move. His encouragement made all the difference and it has absolutely paid off. It’s been a great first few months, here’s to many, many, many more!
2 thoughts on “Three months at ASSF”
You are a perfect fit and going to be an amazing leader and welcome many new people into the church family, much love and blessings xx
I’m so pleased that you are all ready so much at home with my old church and the practice of dismissing whole groups of people at the communion rail is ringing a bell in my mind. I left All Saints in September 1983