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Page last updated at 18:57 GMT, Saturday, 8 August 2009 19:57 UK
Summer months keeps parish busy
Revd Heather Connell
Revd Heather Connell is celebrating 30 years in the ministry

The summer is a popular period for marriage services and it is no different for the Church of St Peter and St Paul in St Osyth.

Being a seaside parish, it is particularly attractive to some couples who are looking to tie the knot.

As they search for a new full-time vicar, Rev Heather Connell is helping to ensure it is business as usual.

"Although we are in an interregnum, this year there are still seven weddings taking place," she said.

Revd. Heather Connell writes:

"Over the summer months, and sometimes in the winter too, the Parish Church is the venue for a number of baptisms and weddings.

"It is easier for families and friends to travel during the longer days of summer, and of course families are always hopeful that the sun will shine for their happy occasion.

"St. Osyth is meant to be one of the driest parts of the country, but that doesn't always mean that the sun shines when we want it too.

"During the interregnum, parents or guardians enquiring about a baptism initially contact our Parish secretary, who will firstly ascertain that under current rules they can be baptised in our church and secondly, that there is a date available.

Sometimes there is the opportunity to help people rekindle a relationship with Christ, or to know His love, compassion and mercy for the first time
Revd Helen Connell

"The details are then passed to the 'Baptism Team'. The Clergy will decide who is able to officiate, after which a visit will be arranged by one of the team.

"Some families are already members of the church, and have a deeper understanding of the meaning and commitment being made in Baptism, but some families knowledge and understanding needs deepening.

"So a visit to the family is usually made so that a full discussion about Baptism can take place in an informal setting.

"Sometimes we can leave a video or DVD with the family to look at and hopefully provoke discussion too. Baptisms usually take place on Sundays at noon, sometimes during the 10am service, occasionally on week-days.

"Fewer people marry in church these days, but perhaps because of the village location and the new, more relaxed rules about who can marry in the Parish church, we may see an increase in the future.

"Although we are in an interregnum, this year there are still seven weddings taking place.

"The preparation meetings, the opportunity for the couple to discuss their wedding service, the rehearsal, and of course the important marriage service itself gives many opportunities for people to get to know each other and to be more aware of the Church's message and ministry.

"It is a joyous part of ministry to share with couples their hopes and joys and the tensions of arranging the wedding and then officiating on their great day.

"Another very important part of the church's ministry is to be alongside with people in their times of grief, and this happens of course when the clergy are asked to take funerals in the parish.

The Font
Seven summer weddings ensure a very floral feel to the church

"Again, visiting people in their homes, building relationships, arranging the funeral for a loved one and talking about the issues of life and death sometimes re-awaken beliefs that have been dormant for a number of years or a faith that slipped in the pressures of employment and bringing up children or moving to another part of the country; many reasons.

"Sometimes there is the opportunity to help people rekindle a relationship with Christ, or to know His love, compassion and mercy for the first time.

"This may happen gradually over weeks and months following a bereavement, with much prayer and care.

"There is much care and prayer taking place too during these summer months, in Jesus name and strength, as we joyfully share in the joy of Baptisms and Weddings and also of course, being there to help the bereaved in their time of need."

Update on the interregnum from Mrs Sonia Grantham:

"Following our Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting held on 6 July, it was agreed that the Bishop be requested to advertise the vacancy during the weeks of the 4th and 11th September 2009.

"We hope to be able to interview short listed candidates in the third week of October.

"The Bishop has also been advised that the PCC were 'open minded concerning the gender of their future Priest, but would expect both suitable men and women applicants to be considered for the post'.

"Myself and Mrs Yrina Morgan Kendall were elected as our two formal representatives from the PCC to meet/interview candidates, in the company of the Bishop and Archdeacon."

Coming up at the end of the month is the Annual Flower Festival running over the August Bank Holiday weekend.



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