From the Rector Designate - Looking Forward

I write this just ahead of the lifting of Covid restrictions in July and at this time I wonder what you have most been looking forward to.

Travel? Music or theatre events? Sporting fixtures? Ditching those masks? Or simply spending time with family and friends again?

This summer I have much to look forward to because, from 1st September, I will be the new Rector serving St Bartholomew’s Benefice and your beautiful villages. Wholeheartedly I hope that, by then, I will be able freely to visit people in their homes, attend village events and welcome people warmly to our churches for both services and community gatherings.

I will be moving from my current parish of Marston Moreteyne in Bedfordshire, a village which enjoyed its 5 minutes of fame as the home of Captain Sir Tom Moore, and will be accompanied by my husband Stephen, a Physics and Classics teacher, and my 2 sons who are 11 and 13. I am an avid but slow reader, an enthusiastic but untrained singer, an organised lover of to-do lists (which are not so beloved of my family) and a fundamentally shy person who yet loves people and listening to their stories.

Before becoming a priest I ran Christian retreats and courses for young people, served as a Justice and Peace Fieldworker in Essex and East London and worked as a school chaplain in Cambridge, only exploring ordination after my sons both started school. I have never had a long-term plan for life, and used to think of myself as wary of change, yet have been repeatedly steered and gently prompted to varied roles, new places and fresh challenges.

So back to looking forward! I look forward immensely to meeting you and to learning about and becoming part of your communities. When I feel trepidation about my new role I find encouragement in these words from the New Testament which may also encourage you as you look forward to emerging from the pandemic:

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5)

I hope that you will indeed find this autumn a time of restoration and new strength and, as I become established, I pray our churches will continue to play their part in supporting you.

The Rev’d Kate McFarlane