Kate looks back

kateawvThis is my seventh and final Christmas letter as your vicar. It has been wonderful to spend these years with you, and we will be taking many happy memories of amazing people and great experiences with us to Stroud. As I look back over this time, there are a few memories that come to mind.

As a family, we arrived with two little primary children and one who was secondary age. Now Anna is at University, Bethia is about to take her GCSEs and Daniel is about to choose his. I am the second shortest in the family now! Daniel and Bethia have few memories of times before living here. Despite more visits to the JR plaster room than would be desirable, they have flourished and grown.

I have been delighted by the way you care for one another as a community, and for those around. It would be hard to find a time when there isn’t something going on! As well as that, you have taken your support of the North Cotswolds Foodbank very seriously, which I know they hugely appreciate; you pack up shoe boxes, more each year, for children and families who would otherwise have nothing at Christmas, you donate hours and hours to keep our Day Centre thriving – I could go on and on. This is a wonderful, generous community.

As a church, it has been wonderful to serve alongside committed, loving people who want to share their life to the full that they have received in Jesus. We have developed a clear vision, and have a good understanding of what we are good at, and how we can serve these communities. We have opportunities to share with one another about matters of faith in our home groups, midday prayers and other settings. We have become much closer as churches, working together and sharing resources, which has been very encouraging. We have welcomed more children and families into our congregations, and work very closely with our school. Our Pastoral Care Team look out for those who are lonely or struggling, and quietly go about caring for them. There is a great deal of good in your churches, and I will be praying that the right person comes alongside you for the next part of your journey.

May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Joseph and Mary and the peace of the Christ child be yours this Christmas.

With love, Kate

December 2017 – January 2018