My reflection this month is very much a focus on who we are as your parish church in the communities to which we live and serve, at a time of year when many people will visit parish churches and cathedrals in the coming weeks for Advent, Carol and Christmas services, along with attending Baptism’s, Weddings and sadly Funerals.
When a Church of England Priest is installed into their new post and parishes, they are given a pastoral charge known as Cure of Souls. This put simply means that I have through my work in the parishes to which I care for, a duty of spiritual care and responsibility for every person of each parish, whether they have an active faith in God or not. Which also means that anyone who lives, as an example, in the parish of Mundford, has the right to be baptized, married or buried in the local church in the parish in which they live, and to receive spiritual care. Which means I look after, along with the people I journey in faith with, around 5000 people across the villages I serve.
Much of my ministry is in general oversight of care in each parish, which includes visiting, Sunday worship, working with our 2 schools in Mundford and Gooderstone, our pre-school, conducting services, including weddings, baptisms and funerals, burials and blessings, caring for those who are near to death, the bereaved and administration. I also attend and chair lots of meetings along with working within local Trusts and Charity’s supporting local people, and visit people in hospital and wherever I am needed. I am a Padre and Chaplain to the Desert Rats Memorial Association and Stanta MOD base, with also a duty of care to my family, doing the normal things that mums have to do with 2 teenage children. I work 6 days out of 7, and sometimes beyond that, with an average working day of 12-13 hours, pretty non-stop, that is why days off are so important, to rest and be with my family and friends.
Along with all of the pastoral ministry offered, we also manage 12 church buildings, and churchyards, community spaces, that belong to their local community. But these are very costly. For instance, to run just the parish church of Mundford alone costs £511 a week, and that is without the cost of repairs and ministry, and our small and dedicated team of fundraisers work really hard to help meet this cost. So it’s tough on small worshipping communities.
This year St Leonard’s Parish Church are holding an Annual Gift Day on Saturday 2nd December, asking our local community to support us as we seek to support the local community. I know it’s a tough time of year with Christmas just around the corner, but in order to keep these historic community buildings in current use, and open for the needs of each local community, we need the help and support of the local community to do this. We thank you wholeheartedly in advance for your love and financial support as we seek to care for each community to the best of our ability. Donations can be brought to the church on 2nd December or popped through the door of the Rectory, thank you.
With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe
Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.
(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879375 or email)