Letter from the Vicarage – Sept 2012

Published April 11, 2017 by Vicky Newhouse in Clergy Letters, Info Centre
“Say Hello, Wave Goodbye”
Many of you will know that this is the title of a song by Soft Cell, who happened to be a favourite band of mine when I was a teenager in the 1980s. David Gray did a re-release of it much more recently.  The song is about the ending of the short-lived relationship of a couple who met in a far from salubrious night club called the Pink Flamingo
Life is full of ‘hellos’ and ‘goodbyes’ isn’t it?  Some are very minor and ‘everyday’, whereas others are so much more significant, involving the whole spectrum of human experience from joy to despair, none more momentous than the joyful ‘hello’ at the birth of a new child, or the  ‘goodbye’ uttered at the death of a loved one. It is one of the greatest privileges of ministry to be invited to be alongside people at such moments.  I hope that during my time in Swanmore I may use that privilege wisely and well and for the benefit of many across the village.
My coming to you to be your Vicar has of course involved many ‘hellos’ and ‘goodbyes’ of my own.  It was hard to say ‘goodbye’ to life in the East Midlands and to so many good friends in Nottingham, especially those at Beeston Parish Church.  However, I have been overwhelmed by the immense goodwill and the warmth of the ‘hellos’ here in Swanmore and so I very much look forward to continuing to get to know you all in the coming weeks and months.  I’m here to be a priest for the village as well as to the church family at St Barnabas, so if you see me out and about in the village, say ‘hello’! And if you have any thoughts on church or village life I’d love to hear them. 
It strikes me that there is a vibrant and strong sense of community spirit here in Swanmore, and that is something to really be celebrated.  I look forward to experiencing this further, as well as exploring with you, how we might continue to build on such solid foundations, welcoming and embracing the diversity of life represented within the village.
I also very much look forward to getting to know staff and pupils at both schools, working closely with Swanmore Methodist Church and to getting involved with a range of village activities.
It’s already been said elsewhere – but it’s important it’s said here as well:  The Revd Mary Morfill has done a ‘cracking job’ in looking after St Barnabas from the time Peter Kelly left in July 2011 to my arrival this July – and so “THANK YOU MARY”. The Bishop of Portsmouth has invited Mary to be the Chaplain to the Mother’s Union across the whole Diocese, commencing in early November.  I’m sure you will agree that she will do an outstanding job.  She will still be attached to St Barnabas and involved in village life though, naturally, there will now be new demands on her time and energies.  We wish you well Mary.
Every Blessing to you all
Claire