A Letter from the Vicar
At our recent APCM our Annual Report was based on the year 2022. As we remember back to that time, it was still very much a re-gathering of our Church Family after the effects of the Covid Pandemic and we needed to reassess those activities that were able to restart and those that had come to a natural end. We also needed to assess our congregations with respect to those people who had sadly died during the pandemic, the people who had chosen to not return to church for a variety of reasons including poorer health, anxiety about the risk of infection, concern about passing on infection. And all of us had got a little older!
Bishop Debbie recently asked me what extra constraints we are under since the pandemic. I spoke about reduced numbers at church; people less willing to volunteer and take on roles within the church; extra expenditure on capital projects; reduction in income from giving; higher costs due to ‘cost of living’ issues; our staff are less healthy and less able to fulfil all the tasks required of us. These are factors not only affecting Holdenhurst Parish, but the wider Benefice, other Bournemouth churches, churches in Winchester Diocese and the Church throughout the country.
This is all a bit gloomy and we could become rather despondent, so rather than that I thought we should focus on “What’s going well?” Within Holdenhurst Parish there are a number of things.
Celebration services (Platinum Jubilee and Coronation ‘Songs of Praise)
Christmas services felt almost back to normal
Lunch club is thriving, including recent Coronation Lunch
Men’s breakfast and the recent ‘Holdenhurst Brunch’ event for Christian Aid
Women’s Fellowship Pre-School Playgroup Sing Together community choir
Homegroups including Bible Book Club and Bible ‘Build Up’ group
We can celebrate all these things that are going well through the perseverance of many of our church members amidst the suffering of the pandemic. Romans 5:3-5 states: ‘…suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who been given to us.
My thanks go to: Officers: Brenda, Roger, Shelley and Janet; Staff team Janice, as well as support and help from Steve, Paul, David and James. And special mention to Gian our BCM who has done so much through Bible Study groups, Bible Book Club and homegroup, preaching, and her general love and care for the congregation and wider community of Holdenhurst and beyond.
Thank you all for another good year at St. John’s and St. Barnabas, two churches but one congregation!