St. John’s Vicarage,
My dear People of Bream,
I have been asked by the present Editor of your Magazine to write you a pastoral letter for publication in your August Magazine. I am very honoured in being asked to do this. I well know how trying the time of a Sequestration can be, when you lack a resident Vicar to whom you may go at all times for advice and encouragement in your spiritual life. When you have not a Vicar it is very easy to get slack about Church attendance and often a Parish slips back. I not think that this is so with you but if you are tempted to feel that way please think how much harder it makes it for your new Vicar. Instead of being able to start with a happy feeling he will have to begin by pulling up and that is hard collar-work. Let him come with a great welcome and to a Church keen and excited go from strength to strength in the great adventure of the Christian life. A Parish is not the Vicar ploughing a lone furrow but a happy family of redeemed people all putting their backs into the work invigorated by regular worship, especially at the Holy Eucharist. When he comes many people will come at first to see what manner of man he is. To those I would say come not with curiosty but with a determination to remain regular and to help the Parish along. To those who come because they are regular worshippers I would say pray now earnestly for your new Vicar and, when he comes, show him a real welcome and happy backing. He will be quite different to your previous Vicar. No man is the same. He may want to make alterations so please do not say that dreadful thing." We did not do this so-and-so’s time” but back him and you will soon learn what he wants and will appreciate his work. Every man, and especially every Vicar, must carve his own way and so long as it is in full accord with the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church it should be well backed at least by the regular Church people. I am sure that he will find a vigorous spiritual life in Bream but be prepared to let it grow. You, regular Church people, can do very much to help at the outset.
As I have said many people who do not come to Church as regularly as they should will come now. You, must welcome them, show them how glad you are to see them make them comfortable in Church and by your own example encourage them. If they find a happy congregation built and intent upon the beauty of holiness they will remain. If they find it cold and distant they will, from disappointment, soon depart. It is up to you, the men and women in the pews, to give them their welcome and so to help them. In many ways a Vicar is a lonely man. He is the only one of his Vocation in the Parish. He is in a measure unique and with his collar worn back to front, he is a marked man. But he need not remain lonely though always marked. He will not be lonely if he finds affection from his flock and with affection such regularity that he need not feel afraid. If you do not fail him that will give him time to do the work he is directed to do, "To seek out" those who, as yet, do not find the fulness in life through worship. I feel that I can speak plainly to you as I am getting an old man, having been in Holy Order now over 40 years and having had vast experience in many places. I know what I want from my people so I know what Mr. Davies will want from you. You then pardon me if I seem to have read you lecture. My one desire is to help your new Vicar and the best way is to as you to welcome him not only at first but to show him your affection through your regular and systematic worship of God in Whose name he comes among you.
Naturally you will ALL be present at the Institution on September 2nd at 7 pm. In some ways an Institution makes me very unhappy. So many people come who do not come again. They come from curiosity and they come because the Bishop will be there. I would love to feel when I come to take part in prayer at your Institution, that this will not be so in Bream, because it is really a new start for a new man with the pledge of consistency in the years to come.
Believe me to be in Christ, yours with affection,
TOM T. HAINES,
Rural Dean and Vicar
of Cinderford St.John
The Induction of our new Vicar, Mr. J. W. Davies, will take place in the Church on Tuesday evening, the 2nd September, at 7 p.m
The carpet in the sanctuary has been cleaned at a cost of 19/6, new wine cruet (the one used for the last four years was not ours) cost 47/6. Both these items, totalling £3/7/- have been paid from the Working Party's funds.
For the last two early Sunday celebrations only three or four people were present, a very poor way of showing our loyalty to the church in the absence of its Vicar. It is no compliment—-quite the reverse—to our neighbouring priests who give their time and their prayers from a busy day so that we shall not lack in worship. It has been said, in Bream, by one of our commumicants: " We don’t go to church to worship the Vicar; we go to worship God.” Do we?
July 20—David Michael Rickards, Woodside, Bream.
July 26—Clifford James, Bream, and Verbena Watkins, Bream.
June 2 George Henry Voyce, aged 63.
" 14—Alfred Miles, aged 58.
" 17—Hannah Elizabeth Nash, aged 72.
" 25 — Annie Trehern, aged 78
July 16—Annie Croome, aged 80.
. " 17—William Nelson Fennell, aged 57.
" 26—Bessie Blower, aged 68
STORIES: An old man, attending a funeral had too much sherry and fell asleep during the service. He awoke to the words: “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." “And quite right too,” he commented loudly. “What could be fairer than that!"
A very small girl was to meet the Archbishop. When you speak to him, she was told, be sure and say: “Your Grace.” When, at last the huge figure of William Temple loomed before he she clasped her tiny hands and bowed her head “Oh Lord,” she said, “for what I am about to receive make me truly thankful.”
SING SOFTLY AND GIVE WELL
Your warden sues thine alms with patient mien
And humbly proffered bason Not to him
Thou , givest, but to One Who—dear, Unseen,
Accepts the offerings of the Cherubim.
To heart’s allegiance add a generous band:
He asks thine alms Who might thine all demand.
In church defer no dues; thine alms delayed
Or planned to give thy least, and not thy most,
In Heaven’s account are written as Not Paid;
What part has meanness with the Angel host
And humbly give: he seldom giver best alms
Who with high function loudest sings the psalms.
G. LACEY, MAY & E. SWAINSON.
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