As August begins, we say Farewell and Thank You to Fr Miguel, Yaneth, Samuel and Xavier, as Fr Miguel has concluded his Ministry here with us in Elland, and moved to prepare for his new Ministry in Barnsley. We bless God for all we have received here from his priest, and pray for the family as they move to a new Home, to new Schools for the Boys, and to new opportunities and challenges. The dates for Fr Miguel’s Licensing Services can be found elsewhere, and I hope a good number of us are able to be there, to support him in prayer at this new beginning.
Earlier in the Year, both of our Church Councils spent some time discussing the changes in the provision of Priestly Ministry that his departure would lead to. We are blessed that both Fr Philip, and Lynn, our Reader, continue to exercise active ministries among us, while also recognizing that both are now regarded as Ministers in Retirement by the Church, and we need to be fully aware of that. While an Assistant Curate such as Fr Miguel is always a priest in training, and should never be seen as simply an extra pair of priestly hands, nevertheless, we are now staffed by one full time priest, rather than two. I am particularly grateful that both PCCs emphasized the need for me to ensure I took the proper time off, both during the week, and my proper Holiday entitlement, while recognizing that there may be an occasion when I am away, for instance, when it is not possible to maintain the usual pattern of Sunday Services.
At the heart of Priesthood is the call to be a person of prayer, with and for the people we are called to serve. In a sense, there is nothing remarkable about this, as God has called me to this particular Vocation and sustains me in it, just as he has called you to live as a Christian in your own daily living. I am grateful for those who encourage and support me, and to those who speak to me when they know I have got something wrong. Those of you who also give much time, effort and care into various tasks in our Churches do it all as Volunteers, and what you offer is just as significant, just as precious in God’s eyes. Our Churches would not function as they do without you. I am always grateful for the way in which the people of our Parishes enable me in living out the gift of priesthood, in putting up with my faults and errors, in showing me brotherly, and sisterly, correction when necessary, and in supporting me. As we learn to readjust to a necessary new pattern of priestly ministry, I am sure we will be able to show a similar amount of understanding and toleration.
Thank you for all your prayers for our Parishes, for your prayers, and for all that you do in the Lord’s name.