It is good to see how well our intrepid editor Douglas has recovered from his hip replacement. There is now no stopping him! He wants this letter before bank-holiday Monday, when I have just returned from holiday and am languishing under a head-cold. August is the best month of the year. Who wants September?
I have spent most of today at a Church in Wales meeting in Cardiff where we had to put into shape the legislation approved by the Governing Body for the new clergy terms of service which come into force next year. My newer colleagues will have to sign up to agreements for working arrangements that our predecessors would have found formal though their lives would have been made easier for them in many cases. Clergy may have to be more accountable for their working time, but they will know that they are entitled to have proper holidays and a better life/work balance. The real challenge is to commend the life of a parish priest to young people so that they accept the challenge of ministry in their twenties. The canonical age for ordination to the priesthood is twenty-four!
That does not detract from the value of older clergy particularly in communities like ours where the average age is getting ever higher through longevity and a decline in the school population. I am conscious of the debt we owe to older clergy in this deanery and especially in Caerleon. They relate well to the people in our congregations and provide effective pastoral and spiritual care. None of us can however be complacent about the need to nurture young people and families in the life of the Church. We shall have to give more time to our ministry to children and young people during the next year. I hope that this will begin with our special Family Service for families who have had children baptised in recent years. This will be held on Sunday 13th September at 10.30 a.m. That should be a good prelude to our Back to Church Sunday for all ages on Sunday 27th September at 10.30 a.m. Have you decided who you will invite to come to St. Cadoc’s Church with you that day? Will Back to Church Sunday make any difference to this Parish this year? The answer to that question lies with you.
It is so good to see young people in Church and to have them as servers or choristers or bell-ringers or simply in Sunday School. It is good to celebrate their achievements and to congratulate them when they do well in examinations as some of ours have again this year. Two of our servers, Rhian and Gareth Humphreys will be moving on in their careers as Rhian begins teacher-training after obtaining a very good degree in music and Gareth begins his University life in Cardiff. Warmest congratulations!
Your friend and Vicar,