Vicar’s Report to the PCC

First of all, I’d like to take you back to just before Christmas. On the fourth Sunday of Advent our Gospel reading was the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. I was really inspired by this passage and how it gives us a vision for engaging with our community. In the sermon I preached on that Sunday, I invited us to imagine Elizabeth as the parish of Bulkington and St James Church as Mary. In this passage, Mary travels many miles on foot to meet Elizabeth among what is familiar and important to her. In this passage, Elizabeth blesses Mary, there is treasure that the Holy Spirit longs to give to the Church from relationship with those in our communities. In this passage, Elizabeth and Mary bring their own experiences of God that they don’t quite understand and their meeting changes everything. That is a picture of Church and community being good neighbours together. This begins in getting to know one another without presumption or agenda, simply aware that God blesses us through those with whom we spend time. I pray that this could be grafted more into our DNA as a Church this year.

As Elizabeth and Mary, we journeyed on to our celebration of Christmas. We were able to celebrate in a slightly more familiar fashion and I was encouraged by the gathering of our parish to celebrate together. One gift that was stirred during the pandemic was creativity and we carried on something greatly enjoyed last year – Carols in the Churchyard.

Other highlights from Advent and Christmas include the continuation of Seashells, which in February will now increase to twice a month. As well as more stand out celebrations, as ever it’s been a privilege to walk alongside those coming for baptisms, weddings and funerals. This Sunday we will mark Candlemas together, where we turn from the crib behind me to the cross. During Lent we will be reviving our Lent group that we hope will become more regular after Lent.