I hope by now everyone has had the chance to read the Parish Profile, either the hard copy in the South Aisle or on the Chelmsford diocese website (look under “Clergy vacancies). By the time you read this, the closing date for applications to be our new vicar will have passed and Carol and I will be perusing the applications and CVs, hoping to choose a shortlist for interview on 27th March. Please pray for us, for wisdom to choose the right people to interview. As I expect you’ll have heard from Carol, we would like as many of you as possible to help out on the interview day, so please put it in your diary. We need help with catering (lunchtime, tea & coffee, etc), welcoming applicants and being tour guides of the Church, the vicarage and Leytonstone in general. It’s also useful to have feedback from other people who have met the applicants and shown them around.
In the meantime, life continues as usual. I’ve been in touch with Phil Attersley at Lodges about the leaks we had before Christmas in the Lady Chapel, and have sent him photos of the discoloured spots on the walls. As I write this, I am waiting to hear when he will make a site visit to look inside the Church. He has already recommended a bit of re-pointing of the brickwork, but it looks as though the storms have dislodged some slates as well. The other bit of repair I have been reporting on still hasn’t happened – the churchyard wall in the Matalan car-park. I’ve been assured that as soon as the weather is suitable for bricklaying it will be done, and it won’t cost us a penny.
One of the jobs I’m doing during the Vacancy is getting priests to cover as many of the services as possible. I concentrate on getting cover for Communion first, then move on to the other monthly services. It has been interesting to have priests from different Anglican traditions. With this in mind, I have been asked by Chris Owen, who is taking the 10.30 Ash Wednesday service if people will bring their last year’s palm crosses to burn, so that he can mark those who wish it with an ashy sign of the cross (the Imposition of Ashes). If people who would like this bring me their palm crosses the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, I will make sure Chris has them to burn. Thinking of Sunday services, wasn’t it lovely to welcome little Gabrielle at her Baptism on 9th February. It’s really nice to have a Baptism as part of a Family Service.
Another lovely thing about February has been the snowdrop trail in the churchyard. They have been especially good this year, despite the storms. Thanks to everyone who has donated the money to buy this year’s batch of snowdrops. They will arrive during March, and then I’m sure Alasdair and his snowdrop planters will be pleased to hear from anyone who’d like to help. It’s chilly, backbreaking work but the results are gorgeous, and a real breath of spring.
So as we launch into Lent, and look forward to the interviews, it’s a busy, exciting time for St. John’s.
Barbara Elliott, Church Warden