Edition 44. Week commencing 7th June 2021

Dear Friends,     

It was frustrating that the internet broadcast went down just as Sylvia was giving an announcement after last Sunday’s service. I expect most people have heard by now, but this is the text of the announcement Lizzie sent to all our churches:

We have some news which is being shared in all the churches of our Benefice today: The Revd Richard Howlett has decided to retire on 30th September this year. He has been in post for four and a half years, principally serving the parishes of St Mary’s, Apsley, and St Benedict’s, Bennetts End. Richard contracted Covid last October and continues to suffer the long term effects, which can be very debilitating. He and Katherine feel that the time is right to take this next step in their lives, and they will be making their new home in Tonbridge, Kent.  Richard has been a valued colleague in our ministry team. Please pray for him and Katherine as they prepare for this enormous change; for Richard’s health; for the congregations of St Mary’s and St Benedict’s as they absorb this news; and for the ministry team as it begins to plan the way ahead. Thank you.

Let’s get together.  Now I’m retiring, I can begin to quote a phrase from old sources like Roxy Music without embarrassment! I fully understand that some people are still nervous of coming into church, but the PCC felt it was crucial for us to re-start opportunities for fellowship, which we have all missed so much during the pandemic. Hopefully, infections data and weather will be kind to us, so we can enjoy the summer weather and see one another in the flesh.

We would love to welcome  you to one or more of the following events at St Mary’s and St Benedict’s (please put them in your diaries/calendars now, and let’s start to ‘be’ church again)

Sun 4th July. Bring and share lunch at St Mary’s. (It will be helpful to know who is bringing savouries, and who is bringing dessert dishes)

Weds 14th July 7.15 pm the popular ‘Sitting Room singers’ will be performing at St Benedict’s.  The popular ‘Sitting Room singers’ will be performing at St Benedict’s. To reserve a place please contact Bob Day 01442737494l or bob.day@sky.com

Sun 18th July St Benedict’s: service to celebrate those from St Mary’s and St Benedict’s who have had significant birthdays or anniversaries during lockdown. Are you one of them? Let me know and we’ll book you in and give thanks to God together.

Sun 15th August Benefice service and Bring and Share lunch at St Mary’s

Sat 11th September Barbecue lunchtime as part of weekend events for St Mary’s 150th celebrations (bishop Alan is preaching and celebrating on Sun 12th at St Mary’s.)

Sun 26th Sept. Harvest service in St Mary’s and bring+share lunch; this will be my and Katherine’s last Sunday in church, and it would be lovely to catch up with people)

With our love and prayers,      Richard  and Katherine.