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Being a Church - and Parish - Family

Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Worthen, Team Rector

I hope to see many of you on the 26th July, when Bishop Rose will come to our parish to license the Revd Charlotte Coles as an Associate Priest. We are so blessed to have such a strong clergy team, combining stipendiary and self-supporting ministers.

It’s wonderful that Charlotte will be joining our team and enriching it with her gifts. Like the other clergy, Charlotte will have a ‘base’ in one particular church community, in her case Christ Church South Ashford. Like the other clergy, Charlotte will be licensed to serve the whole parish and be expected to carry a sense of prayerful responsibility for its health as part of Christ’s body. Like the other clergy, Charlotte will fulfil that responsibility through being part of a team that works and prays together for the fruitfulness of the church in this place in the service of Christ.

That means that the celebration of a new ministry on 26th July is a celebration for all of us, not just those who are part of Christ Church, or of St Mary’s Ashford Town Centre, where it will be held as a convenient central location.

Our vision is to be a family of churches that is centred on Jesus, serving the community, and sharing our faith. Families don’t do everything together, but they do some things together. Family members may spend most of their time apart, but they know how to come together for important occasions – including welcome for new family members, through birth or marriage.

If we’re going to fulfil that vision of being a family of churches, it’s vital that our clergy form a supportive and effective team. The clergy team has a pivotal role in coordinating mission and ministry across the parish as a whole. But it’s not all about the clergy – it never is. We need everyone to recognise that the church community they love (and sometimes get frustrated with) is part of a family, and doesn’t stand alone. And we’d love everyone – sometimes – to come to the occasional family celebration.

Please come along on 26th July if you’re free. Come to welcome Charlotte with a fantastic start to her ministry here. Come to hear our bishop and the message she has to share with us. Come to be together, as a family of churches, centred on Jesus, serving the community, and rejoicing to share our faith.

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