Since the last Forum meeting on Oct 31st 2016, there have been three funerals, one at Cheriton, Tichborne and Bramdean respectively. There have been no weddings and two baptisms.
Christmas was a particularly wonderful and busy time so thank you to everybody who gave so much time organising and delivering services and supporting the mission here. The period was complicated for me this year because I developed a flu in the early part of December. I then, as the month progressed lost my voice, which meant by Christmas day I had to invite the congregation at Bramdean to ‘Join with me as we whisper our Christmas day service’. It has taken some time to feel that I am back in my stride, and back to normal.
We did see many wonderful services across the Benefice during the Advent/Christmas period. Again, the Crib which was great fun to be involved with – but a lot of preparation. The Midnight services also seem to have been very well received again this year. Christmas Day itself, services were very well supported and brought many from our communities into the church. To everybody that made our churches so welcoming and vibrant – again thank you.
I continue to write for the Christian Comment in the Hampshire Chronicle – the coordinator of which is leaving the Diocese a little before Easter. It has been intimated to me that a new coordinator needs to be found, I am pretty reluctant to take on that role. I am on the board of Governors at Cheriton School. I take assembly there once a fortnight. I am a member also of the Diocesan Board of Education and the Executive Resource Group of the DBE. I continue to be on Diocesan Synod, and have just completed my first year as Area Dean, which is a very interesting piece of work, but at times rather challenging. One particular joy, on the 25th Jan we licensed the Revd. Clare Welham as the new Priest in Charge of the Bishop Sutton, West Tisted and Ropley benefice. Clare is lovely, and previously was the Chaplain to Harrogate Ladies’ College. I invite you all to pray for her, and her ministry as she takes on a set of parishes that require a lot of love and attention.
Caroline and I now offer some hours a month to the Cathedral as Chaplain, and Jan does the same for HMP Wincher’s chaplaincy dept.
I have been variously involved in supporting Alresford and the Arle Valley as they no longer have an incumbent. I have taken a number of Funerals and Holy Communion services for them, as required. They do have a very good and dedicated Ministry team so this has not been a particularly difficult thing to do.
On December 11th we welcomed the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, at Cheriton Church. He was warmly received – which was a bit of a relief. Also, while we had him, he was asked to licence the Revd. Jan Brookshaw as our associate Priest, which he duly did.
We have an ongoing structural project at Bramdean, a lighting project at Hinton Ampner, as well as an archaeological project at Kilmeston church. We also have the sale of the Parish Hall in Cheriton. At the time of writing, following a rather large legacy and some other monies we also have the opportunity to introduce a new sound system and drop down screen and projector into Cheriton Church – we are not far away from our total money required to see this project through, and I do think this would be a brilliant thing to achieve.
We have the Café on the Green going from strength to strength, providing a valuable and appreciated community church resource. I know there are many other wonderful activities and gathering brought to each villages that so many people enjoy – 1st Monday clubs, Christmas Bazaars, Safari Suppers, Bridge gatherings and the Cheriton Talks, to name only a few – thank you to everyone for all your dedication, hard work and generosity.