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From the ChurchwardensAngela Gardner and Jon Siddall
As we enter the season of Lent – a period of reflection, self-denial and preparation – leading up to the joyous celebration of Easter, one can draw parallels with the process of review and renewal that has taken place at Hampstead Parish Church over the past year culminating in the appointment of our new Vicar, Jeremy Fletcher, who we welcome to Hampstead this month, together with his wife Julia. The long wait is finally over and a new chapter for our church begins!
We know that all of you are looking forward to meeting Jeremy and Julia and getting to know them. We therefore hope that you will take the opportunity to join the celebrations to mark Jeremy’s arrival by attending his Institution and Induction service on Thursday 16 March at 7.30pm which will be followed by refreshments at University College School. It promises to be a splendid occasion.
This time last year, we were preparing to wish Fr Stephen a very happy retirement; the interregnum that has followed has presented a series of challenges and opportunities: first, a period of consultation and mature reflection leading to the preparation of our Parish Profile; then the recruitment process itself, working closely with the Bishop, the Archdeacon, the Area Dean, the Patronage Board and the PCC to make sure that the right individual was appointed to continue God’s work in Hampstead. We were delighted to announce in November that Jeremy would become our new Vicar. But, the preparation didn’t stop there: as Jeremy and Julia prepared to say farewell to the people of Beverley (their home for the past seven years), we have had a Vicarage to completely refurbish (with the finishing touches being applied as we go to print!).
And so, as March arrives, we are in the home straight. It is a very exciting time for Hampstead Parish Church and we can all start to look forward confidently with anticipation and expectation, and perhaps even a degree of trepidation, at what lies ahead!
We are truly blessed to have a new Vicar joining us to lead our dedicated team of clergy, staff and volunteers who together have played such an important role in enabling us to come through the interregnum positively, and with our range of services and activities intact. However, a church cannot truly thrive without the support of all its members and we have a real shortage of volunteers in many areas. This is a major challenge for us. The potential for Hampstead Parish Church to continue to flourish and grow is dependent on an increase in the number of members who are actively engaged in our community.
Lent provides each of us with an opportunity to reflect on our own Christian journey and on what ‘membership’ of Hampstead Parish Church means to us. Are you a member – on the church Electoral Roll? What is important to you about being a member? How can you help support what you value most? What skills can you bring? How would you like to develop your links within the church community? What activities would you like to become involved with? We encourage you to reflect on how you can best support Jeremy and play an active part in the life of our church community going forward.
As the interregnum draws to a close, we give grateful thanks for how it has prompted us to reflect on the needs and values of our church, and what we can bring to the community that we serve. We are confident that, with your support, our church, under Jeremy’s fresh leadership, is well placed to grasp the opportunities ahead. Thank you.
With our best wishes during this season of Lent