Vicar's letter

Clergy letter September 2017

Dear Friends,

For the last few years at St Lawrence, in collaboration with Stratford School, we have hosted a service on the first day of the new school year. The service is entitled ‘New Beginnings’. All parents, grandparents and carers of pupils starting school for the first time are invited, along with any existing parents who might welcome the opportunity to mark the new school year with a short act of worship. During the service, each new pupil is prayed for by name. There are often more than a few tears shed, but also a sense of joy and thanksgiving as these 4 year olds open a new chapter of their young lives. This year the service is on September 5th at 9.20am. Everyone is welcome.

The service marks an ending and a new beginning, as the pre-school years come to a close and school life begins. Leading the service will have a particular poignancy for me this year, as I approach the ending of my time with you at Stratford and anticipate my own new beginning.

In life, new beginnings can come along bidden and unbidden. Parents know that when their child reaches the age of 4 they will go to school. Everything will be planned for that new beginning- school induction visits made, uniform purchased, forms filled in and on the day, packed lunch made and PE kit ready to go. Hopefully on our house moving day everything will be equally ready to go! However, there are many new beginnings in life which cannot be planned for and may not be welcomed. There are times when we may not feel ready for the changes and challenges we face.

Those parents will have a precious opportunity to mark this change in their family life within the church community. I will have the opportunity to mark my final service at St Lawrence on 8th October, to which everyone is also welcome.  Not all new beginnings or ending have a special occasion dedicated to them, however every time we gather in church together, we recognise that God is with us in all the seasons of life and longs for us to grow in faith as we grow deeper in fellowship together as his family.

The New Beginnings Service ends with tea and cake. There is always laughter, tears and lots of chat, as the parents realise the commonality of their emotions, hopes and fears. Isolation and fear is dispelled and friendships are forged for the years ahead.

Our service on 8th Oct will end with Holy Communion and a shared brunch. What better way to mark an ending and new beginning together?

As September opens up and the signs of autumn reveal themselves, may we know God with us in every new beginning and ending.

Revelation 22:13

 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’


Every blessing,



Rev’d Tessa Mann