LiFT 22nd February

Good evening all,

My last task before I switch off for a much needed 24 hour break. I think I’m on top of everything, and I’m really enjoying the walking that I’ve been doing – it’s a wonderful way to have conversations and get to know people, and I’ve been overwhelmed both by the numbers of people who have walked with me, and the amazing reception we have received at every single church we have arrived at. I really should have taken photos of the cake, soup, and smiles. There is even a colourful banner, made by Sue Russell – you have all surpassed any expectations I might have had. I’ve now completed six walks and have managed over 51,000 steps so far. I should have held a competition to guess the step count! Maybe next time hahaha!

As you know, Rev’d Sue remains off following are car collision, and I want to thank everyone who has been so patient and tolerant of how this has affected some of our services and activities. I’m very quickly learning that our Ministry Area is full of very generous and wonderful people who are willing to muck in, cope, go the extra mile, and generally be everything that a healthy Christian community can be. Thank you so so much.

I know you will keep Rev’d Sue and her family in your prayers, and I ask that you also keep all our churches and congregations in them too – as we navigate our reduced team and stretched resources. If you have any clever ideas that might be helpful, please don’t hesitate to be in touch 🙂

Lastly, can I let you know about something that is happening on Sunday to do with my walk and our services – 

in the afternoon I am walking from Kemeys Commander to Llanover, leaving at 1pm. It happens that there is a service in Llanover at 4pm, which I am now taking (to cover for Rev’d Sue). If you are walking you may like to consider staying for the service too, it would be a rather nice end to Sunday. If you’re not walking but want to join us, please do! 

Right, my Chinese Takeaway has arrived. Have a lovely evening and you know where I am if I can help with anything,

Lots of love,

Sally xxx

Please note that Friday is usually my rest day. Emails received on Friday may not be responded to until after the weekend. Thank you for your understanding.

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LiFT 15th February

Good evening you lovely lot, 

How are you all?

Lent is upon us, how are you feeling about that? Does it make any difference to you? Do you observe the season? 

The bishop has asked all clergy, current and retired, to remember the Chrism Mass which is on Tuesday 26th March 11am, in the cathedral. it’s a very special service in which we recommit ourselves to God’s work, and the oils are blessed for the coming year. it is followed by a buffet lunch. Lay people are encouraged to come along too, both to support their clergy, but also to recommit themselves to the work of God. So please, all, will you consider coming along. It promises to be both uplifting and encouraging. If you would like lunch you are asked to contact the bishop’s PA so that there is enough food. Her email is. –  

There is no need to let anyone know you are going if you don’t want lunch.

What else do I want to share with you this week? There is a lot going on at the moment – not big stuff, but I would be grateful if you could keep in your prayers all those activities, people, and situations that you come across that on their own seem perfectly fine, but which when added together might make us concerned or mindful of the pressures and situations we are all in. I see so many people working hard and doing their best, and I really am very very grateful for all that is done, especially those activities and tasks that appear to go unseen. They are not. Thank you.

Please know that you are all in my prayers, I pray for you daily, and will of course pray for specific needs if you let me know.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 6-7).

With my love and Prayers,

Sally

Please note that Friday is usually my rest day. Emails received on Friday may not be responded to until after the weekend. Thank you for your understanding.

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LiFT 8th February

Good evening friends,

Where is the time going? We enter the season of Lent next week. Do you have plans? We get caught up in the tradition of giving up or abstaining for Lent don’t we? I must confess that I don’t usually give up anything – it never goes well, and I am much better at tasking myself with a new discipline, or taking up a reading project or different prayer discipline. Anyway, you know what I’m doing this year – walking! Thank you to all of you who have offered help, accompaniment, and encouragement. We also have a wonderful choice of Lenten activities all themed around the environment. There really is something for everyone and there is detailed information in all our churches. Have a look and give something a try, maybe invite a friend or relation to join you – it’s sometimes easier if we have someone doing it with us.

Clare, one of our pastoral visitors and lay worship leaders, is undertaking a tough challenge as part of her Lent discipline – she will be endeavouring to live for a week, spending only £10 on her food. This is not going to be an easy feat, and is not for everyone, but Clare would be delighted if you think it is something you can join her in. Let me know and I’ll put you in touch. Clare has decided that she will collect financial donations as an encouragement, and all money collected will be donated to the Food Pantry in Raglan. Please make your donations directly to the church there, and we will announce how much Clare raises,  helping to feed those who are struggling locally. 

Finally, you know what’s coming, a prayer request please. As we enter a season of change, with a new team developing, I sense that there is excitement, anticipation, hope, fear, and expectation in varying degrees. Please pray for all those involved in ministry across our Ministry Area, praying that decisions and conversations will be surrounded by God’s grace and that we will discern his desires for all our communities and people. Thank you.

Jeremiah 29:11 ~ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

You know how to get hold of me if you need anything, please don’t hesitate.

With love,

Sally xxx

Don’t hesitate to share this letter with anyone you think might like to receive it, I can add their email to the list easily 🙂

Please note that Friday is usually my rest day. Emails received on Friday may not be responded to until after the weekend. Thank you for your understanding.

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LiFT 1st February

Living In Faith Together

Good evening all,

It’s that time of the week again – my final task before I close the computer and look forward to a day of rest (well, doing something that’s not about the Ministry Area, anyway!) How is your week going?

So this week I have visited, worshipped, attended governor meetings in school, planned training, and made a feeble attempt to reduce my admin pile. I hope I’m getting my priorities right! I think I’m beginning to understand the enormity of my new role and it excites me – there is so much to be hopeful about if we keep our eyes fixed on God’s plan for us all. For example, I’ve been astounded by the interest and subsequent offers of help for my Big Lent Walk. Thank you so much. Please do join me along the way and spread the word. I have this picture of the circular route being a way of catching together all the communities and incorporating them into a single prayer of love and hope for us all. I don’t mean that to sound cheesy, I just believe it is our way of beating the bounds for our wonderful communities, as one big group working together for God’s kingdom.

What else do I need to tell you about? Well, the bishop has asked me to check that everyone who wants to is receiving the Midweek Mailing. This is a weekly email that comes from the diocese to share forthcoming events, to share news, and to celebrate good things. If you are not aware of this email you can find it here –https://monmouth.churchinwales.org.uk/en/news-and-events/midweek-mailing-31st-january/

If you would like to receive it regularly you can subscribe here –  https://churchinwales.us10.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=b3afd1b0d0adb8d4215f17201&id=e18b03bd4a

As we gently move towards Lent can I suggest that you keep your eyes peeled for an amazing set of resources put together by Rev’d Sue and a team of others. There really is something for everyone and if you haven’t seen any publicity, then hopefully it will be given in church on Sunday. If you prefer,  please contact Rev’d Sue directly on  to find out more. I have attached the prayer diary for you.

Finally, a prayer request – please will you pray for all those who work so hard to make a difference in our churches, but sometimes go unseen. Rev’d Sue and I were talking this week about how we must ensure that we pray for our musicians, flower people, cleaners, pastoral visitors, lay worship leaders, Ministry Area Council, key holders, churchyard and building teams, vergers, servers, choirs, those who pray, read, welcome, and offer hospitality, for those who quietly and faithfully go about God’s work, and those who we cannot be without. That’s you probably, every one of you is an essential part of our church community, thank you, and be assured of my heartfelt and concentrated prayers for you all.

Oh and I’ve said finally, so now I can’t mention St. Brigid, whose day it is today – my all time favourite saint! Please go and look her up – she’s amazing!

TIme to switch off and find a treat to eat!

With love,

Sally xxx

Please note that Friday is usually my rest day. Emails received on Friday may not be responded to until after the weekend. Thank you for your understanding.

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LiFT 25th January

Good evening all,

Happy St. Dwynwen’s Day (she is the Welsh saint for lovers!). Today is also the day that we mark the conversion of Paul – his road to Damascus experience. Quite a day!

How are you? it’s been a weird week with terrible storms interspersed with beautiful sunshine, and work wise I have almost drowned in emails and also had some wonderful and extraordinary conversations with people. Ministry and the weather share a common theme of being variable and unpredictable 🙂

What do I need to share with you this week? 

Well, there is a small and positive change to the Sunday rota that you may not know about – the usual evening prayer service in Llanover at 4pm this Sunday is actually going to be a celebration of Candlemas, which promises to be a lovely service. If you aren’t sure what to expect come along, I am really looking forward to sitting in the pews and worshipping alongside you. 

The other thing to mention is that the advert for our new team vicar has gone live and we will be interviewing for the position in a few weeks’ time. Please will you pray for all those who are considering applying for the role, and for those who will be conducting the interviews. We need to make the right appointment and need to listen carefully to God as we discern the best person to join us. Thank you.

Oo and don’t forget the Big Breakfast, on Saturday in the Memorial Hall – 8am-11am.

In other news Rev’d Sue and a team of keen others have begun to put together a super selection of activities and resources for Lent. They are all bespoke for our ministry area and I’m really excited by the variety and quality of everything. There is a theme through them, linked to the environment, and we will look forward to sharing details with you very soon. Watch this space!

Finally, can I apologise if you have written an email and I haven’t got back to you. As I stated at the beginning, I’m drowning to put it bluntly, not in terms of the volume of work overall, but just in terms of the sheer number of emails that come in every day. It’s not your fault – it’s life. If you think I’ve missed something or you are waiting for a reply, please don’t hesitate to nudge me,  gently, and I will do my best! I won’t knowingly or intentionally ever ignore something; I might just not spot it in the midst of all the other stuff. Thank you for being so patient.

I really am very glad to be a small part of your lives and communities – this has been the bible verse that has roamed around my mind all week – I really do think it’s true about you all – 

Matthew 6:21

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:21

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

With my love, Sally xxx (who will be spending her rest day trying to salvage the kitchen whilst eating chocolate and drinking good coffee!)

Please note that Friday is usually my rest day. Emails received on Friday may not be responded to until after the weekend. Thank you for your understanding.

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LiFT 18th January

Good evening to you all,

As promised, here is my weekly catch up with you. Please feel free to share widely and with people inside and outside the church if you think they would like to hear from me. Likewise, if you have received this and don’t want to get a weekly update from me then just let me know and I’ll drop you off the contacts for it.

So what news do I have? Well five days in and there have been some lovely lovely things happen, and one or two harder things. Just as I might expect it to be in fact. One of the wonderful things has been the number of non church people who I have bumped into who have shown interest in my new role. They have seen it on social media and whilst they haven’t always fully understood, they’ve asked good questions and I’ve had lots of opportunities to talk about our churches, our hopes and dreams, and generally got the feeling that our churches and faith do matter to those on the fringes. How wonderful.

As I sometimes like to, I wonder whether I might ask you for your prayers please. I am aware,  as I am sure you are, that there are areas of often hidden poverty in our communities. This brings with it health concerns, particularly worries about mental health and well being. Please will you join me in specifically praying for those who are struggling in these shorter days and longer nights, with their mental health. It is often the aspect of our personal care that we are slowest to attend to, and yet so much hinges on it. Equally, if you are struggling with your own mental health and think a visit from a member of clergy or someone from our pastoral care team might help, please don’t hesitate to ask. No one should struggle alone.

The other thing to mention this week is that lots of people have told me how uplifting and motivating they found the sermon the bishop gave at my licensing service. She has kindly forwarded it to me for inclusion this evening in case you missed it or wanted to read it for yourself. Let me know what you think.

And so there I think I will leave it for this week. My rest day consists of meeting my parents in Cheltenham to look at a possible assisted living apartment they are interested in, and then I’m going to tidy the house, which looks as though we have suffered a tornado, before curling up with a good book and watching Mr Bates vs. the Post Office which I suspect will be no good at all for my blood pressure.  

You know where I am if you need me, don’t hesitate to be in touch.

With my love and prayers,

Sally xxx

Please note that Friday is usually my rest day. Emails received on Friday may not be responded to until after the weekend. Thank you for your understanding.

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