From the Rector - January 2016

Dear Friends,

One of the silly frustrations of modern life is how the feast of Christmas has been over commercialised. Not that I'm grumpy...but I first started listening to Radio 4 (years ago now) because Steve Wright was wishing people a Happy Christmas in October. I took great exception to being told by a major television network’s news programme on Boxing Day (St Stephen's Day) this year that "Christmas is all over for another year” when it had in fact only just started. All this may sound like a grump but actually, as most of you will read this in early January when it will still be Christmas, this is a preamble to wishing you a very blessed Christmas and a happy healthy New Year.

May I also take this opportunity to thank all those who gave us cards and gifts. It helped to make our first Christmas here very special.

On Sunday January 3"‘ we will say farewell to our Assistant Curate, The Revd Alice Goodall. As I'm sure you're all aware Alice has been appointed as Rector of Shelswell in the Diocese of Oxford. Alice has worked tremendously hard during her time here and I know she is much loved across our community and schools. We will also miss Joe who has been a committed member of our churches, great fun and a very handy person to have in the congregation when you need a server at the last minute. He also drinks espresso so is clearly a man of sophistication and style.

I will personally miss Alice far more than she could know (though I do tell her). She has been very supportive and informative and has also been tremendous fun. Above all that, I know that she has a deep love and care for our communities and for you.

One of the patrons of our Benefice (specifically for Semley) is Christ Church, Oxford. Alice is also going to a Christ Church '’living’’. This is particularly good for two reasons. The first is that Christ Church are a very good, supportive and generous patron to have and I know there will be this support for Alice. Secondly, Christ Church has a biannual Incumbent’s Conference, so I hope I will be seeing much more of Alice over the years to come. I attended the conference in September; I seem to remember Alice mentioning something about "an Oxford port lake" before I went. Sadly this was not true but I would be delighted to introduce her to some of my favourite watering holes from my time in Oxford

I hope you have all seen details of the Pilgrim Course which we shall be starting on January 7"‘ at Semley Rectory. Please feel free to come along. Booking isn't essential but it would be helpful to have an idea of numbers - so please let us know if you know you are coming.

Yours ever,

Richard