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Rob’s Message – October/November 16


Dear Friends,


‘Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness’ – suddenly Autumn is upon us. Time, it seems, has slipped by in a haze of activity.


Fruitful time, I hope, but not always happy, as the ‘Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals ’ list on the final page of this edition will testify. But, despite this, I had the great privilege of celebrating the life of Marjorie Plaskett who died, aged 103, in Clive in September. It was not only her great age that was remarkable, though one cannot deny that, but it was her lovely demeanour; her gentleness, her faithfulness, her warm smile of greeting and the joy and interest with which she embraced life that made being in her company such a pleasure. She showed for me the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ in love, joy, peace, patience (never quite sure about this one in any of us!), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22f) and she remains a great inspiration to all who knew her. With Chris, Elizabeth and Will we give thanks for her life amongst us.


Fruitful, certainly, with the great number of weddings we have celebrated this year in each of our churches. It has been wonderful to have the young (and not so young!) couples amongst us and to get to know them as they prepare for their special days. The proximity of Pimhill Barn and Shooter’s Hill wedding venues have certainly set the ball rolling, and hopefully at least some of the relationships begun with the couples will be continued into the years ahead.


Fruitful, too, for even as I write this (24th Sept) our new Diocesan Bishop is being installed and enthroned in the Cathedral of St Chad and St Mary in Lichfield. Please pray for Bishop Michael, as he begins a new chapter in his ministry amongst us. He is the 99th Bishop of Lichfield, in a line which began with St Chad in the 7th Century. Many people from the Deanery and beyond came to meet Bishop Michael in St Alkmund’s Church in Whitchurch on 20th Sept, sharing in a lovely and thoughtful service of welcome and at refreshments afterwards. On the following three days he then completed part of the Pilgrim Way by walking from Stoke to Lichfield arriving in time for his enthronement. Please remember him and his wife Julia in your prayers and pray for our Diocese, too.


Fruitful, because it is the time of Harvest. Our rural roots mean that, like it or not, we are all intertwined with the land and with what and how it produces. That means hard work in sometimes very difficult conditions for those who work the land in our midst. Over the next few weeks we shall give thanks for the harvest and for those who have brought it in, a right and proper thing to do (our services of harvest celebration have already begun in Grinshill with a delicious meal and get together on Friday 23rd and the service on Sunday 25th).


And finally fruitful through the many social and fundraising events that have and continue to take place in our communities; coffee mornings, drinks parties, concerts, scarecrows, open gardens, big breakfasts, fashion shows, craft fairs: the list is endless. Thank you so much for all the hard work and time spent to establish and encourage that most precious of gifts – community.


And may I add just one more – a fruitful time for Pat and me, and I hope for you, too, as we celebrate fourteen years in the Benefice. Worth celebrating! Thank you.


May God bless you all.

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