St. Mary's Church

St. Luke's Church

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St Mary the Virgin, Chiddingstone

St Luke's Chiddingstone Causeway

Interregnum at St.Mary's and St.Luke's

Last month we reported that the PCC had “accepted with reluctance” that:

* A full-time priest would not be allowed
* A part-time priest – even if we found a suitable one – was likely to be swallowed up by Deanery re-organisation forced upon us in 1-2 year’s time
* Changes to our parish were inevitable and out of our hands

In order to retain as much control over our future as possible, the churchwardens and PCC approved an outline initiative which proposed the following:-

(1) To discuss the formation of a joint benefice with Penshurst and Fordcombe (being our stated preferred partners – and we being their preferred parish)

(2) To appoint a full-time priest to this joint and (we think) attractive post

(3) To appoint a curate to assist

(4) To discuss with the Diocese, the earliest timing of such appointments, in light of the Penshurst/Fordcombe incumbency likely to become vacant later this year.

We have held meetings with the churchwardens of Penshurst/Fordcombe and, separately, with the Archdeacon. We felt that the initiative was well received, especially as our neighbours would shortly be similarly placed as us (ie without a full-time priest). We are awaiting the outcome and feedback from their meeting with the Archdeacon.

Such an arrangement is likely to take another year (or possibly more) to implement and it is our fervent hope that Bill McDougall will take up a more formal temporary position as our priest until such re-organisation takes place.

Although our initiative, in many ways, meets the Bishop`s objectives, we anticipate that considerable discussion and negotiation will be needed to flesh out arrangements. We are jointly extremely keen (with Penshurst and Fordcombe), that each of our parishes fully retains their identity and sense of community.

We will advise you of feedback and developments as they occur.

Services

Services for March are as shown in the calendar and on twitter. Please note the inclusion of a Eucharist service on Ash Wednesday 6th March.

The second Family Service was held at St Luke`s on 3rd February with the same balance of traditional worship, songs and music, readings and prayers followed by tea (adults) and craft (children). Many thanks to Sally Musson for leading the service and to all those who helped in so many ways, seen and unseen. Please ask your friends to join us on 3rd March for a short but upbeat service greatly enjoyed by all.

The Toddler`s Service will continue on the first Thursday of the month at 9.15am in the Parish Room.

Lent

It is hoped to organise a Lent course starting on Thursday 7th March at 7pm but confirmation will be announced in church shortly.

Reminders

Any wedding matters should continue to be addressed to our wedding co-ordinator, Sue Coleman (870435).

Any pastoral matters should be addressed to the Pastoral Assistant, Carol Benton (870483).

Any Christenings or other matters relating to St Mary's or St Luke's should go to the relevant churchwardens please (contact numbers in our local directory).