Vicar's letter

Clergy letter

Dear Friends,

Having been born and brought up in Devizes, I have many memories of trips to some of the beautiful towns and cities that are not too far from the town of my birth.  Christmas shopping trips to Bath meant marvelling at the beauty of Bath Abbey where my paternal Grandfather had been head chorister many years before, as well as giving me the chance to visit Bath’s many toy shops!  A visit to what is now known as Royal Wootton Bassett meant visiting my mother’s family and attempting to convince Mum and Dad to make that short trip into Swindon – again to visit my favourite toy shops! 

Yet, it was trips to Salisbury that were always exciting.  As my sister and I sat in the back of the family car driving along the A360, I would wait for that first glimpse of the spire of Salisbury Cathedral.  And yet, before we arrived in the city centre when I could finally see the Cathedral in all its glory, I found that my eyes were always drawn to a village church that could also be seen from that road.  I always admired it as being quite beautiful, standing proudly in the village, in the shadow of Old Sarum, as a sign of God’s loving presence in our world.  It was only very recently that I worked out that the church my eyes were drawn to all those years ago was indeed St Lawrence, Stratford-Sub-Castle (sadly, geography is not a strong point.)  Back then the 10 year old me could not have known that one day God would call me to follow my gaze and go as a Priest to St Lawrence’s. 

Of course, that is exactly what has happened.  As I write this letter, I am only days away from my licensing.  Myself, Nick, Henry and Mary are very grateful to God and excited to be joining you all at St Lawrence’s and walking with you on your journey of faith as we all, following Jesus Christ, strive to make God’s love known to all around.  It is then wonderful that my ministry amongst you begins so close to Advent and Christmas – a time of year when we are waiting and preparing for God’s greatest gift to us in the form of the Christ-child.  For that new-born baby shows us and the world around us that God is indeed with us, but also that God never gives up on us; for through Christ, God is forever reaching out to us and calling us to turn our gaze to his light and follow him.

As myself, Nick, Henry and Mary join you at Stratford-Sub-Castle at such a special time of year, we are very much looking forward to getting to know you all and becoming part of your community. 

I send you and all those you love every blessing for a holy Advent and very Happy Christmas.