The Church Of The Holy Rood -- Wool, Dorset, U.K.
from Revd Carol Langford, Vicar of Holy Rood
Revd Carol Langford joined Holy Rood as our new Priest at her
licensing service on Tuesday 28th February 2017
(reprinted from the June "Church Without Walls"
Continually Living Easter
Since moving to Wool and being licensed as Vicar just over three months ago we have enjoyed some wonderful weather that has enabled us to appreciate the very beautiful area in which we live. To sit on a bench at the top of Holy Rood Churchyard or to walk along the paths through the woods and fields are all simple ways to enjoy the creation that God has given us. The Isle of Purbeck is lovely at all times of the year of course but it has seemed especially beautiful as everything around us in the woods and gardens burst into life; the bluebells have been such a delight to behold. As one who now often eats her breakfast between the Services on Sunday mornings sitting on a bench in the churchyard, I frequently give thanks for just how fortunate Mark and I are to live here.
Sometimes new life takes a little while to blossom, like when the first shoots of the daffodil bulbs emerged through the soil but we still had a few weeks to wait for the flowers to appear. At other times the signs of life can seem to be absent, so much so that we begin to think that nothing will appear but then, overnight, the situation changes. It was like this at the vicarage recently with the beech hedge at the one end of the garden. When we went off on post-Easter leave it looked in part like a pile of twigs but when we returned a few days later- it had suddenly sprouted into life, covered with new leaves. Such things remind me of Psalm 104: 'when you send forth your spirit all things spring to life.'
The Church is currently in the Easter season. In liturgical terms the season began this year on Easter Day (I6`" April) and will end at Pentecost (Jun 4.). Strictly speaking, though, we are Easter people and as such we celebrate the resurrection every Sunday, indeed Sunday is sometimes referred to as a 'mini-Easter.' As Easter people we're called to discern, celebrate and witness to signs of new life springing up amongst us at all times. Signs such as the occurrence of Sticky Church on Good Friday afternoon when 13 children came to church with parents or grandparents to learn about Easter, or when two members of our church family were newly elected to serve on PCC recently or the establishment of Open the Book for collective worship in our school, led by a Team from Bere Regis but with an increasing number of leaders from Holy Rood. A growth in vocation, hence new members for PCC, or discipleship, hence nurturing the young, are all signs of new life. Ina living church new fife is what we should expect As St Augustine said, we are the Easter people and 'alleluia' is our song.
It's often thought that in order for new life to emerge in the Church other things have to stop. Sometimes this is true. In our current position, for example, a decision was made to put 'Revive' on hold fora while. This is allowing us to trial shorter non-eucharistic Family Services at 10am on second Sundays fora few months. However, it can also be the case that new life re-energises that which we love but thought we had lost, such as is the case with Evensong. Until very recently Evensong was something that had not happened at Holy Rood for some time but the question 'what next after Revive?' led to a request for its return. Attendance for Evensong these past three months has been encouraging and the Service very much appreciated. So whereas one thing, Revive, has stopped, for the time being at leas, two other things have emerged in its' place; a hopeful sign of growth.
At this joyful time in which new life surrounds us on every side, please pray for eyes to see and ears to hear and lips to witness to the signs of new life in our church and for the courage to work with God in bringing them to maturity.
A few words from Carol by way of self-introduction -
"My husband Mark and I were delighted last November when I was invited to become the next Vicar of Wool and East Stoke. We love the Isle of Purbeck; our caravan was sited in East Stoke last year and at Arne before that. We very much look forward to meeting everyone, making new friends and praying, living and working together.
Mark and I met when we were both 18yrs of age and married three years later. Mark’s father served in the army and Mark was born in Hanover, Germany, when they were stationed there. I was born in Birmingham but moved to Poole with my family in 1970. Mark and I met through my mother and Mark’s step-mother who worked together; we sometimes say that ours was an arranged marriage! We have been married for 34 years and have been blessed with 2 sons, a daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law to be; Daniel is married to Nicola, they live and work in London. Tom and Lisa, who live in Poole, are to be married later this year. Mark works as a Service Technician with Marstons Brewery and I was a teacher of Religious Education in Poole Secondary Schools until my ordination in 2006. Baptised at six weeks old, I came to active faith through marriage preparation and was Confirmed a few months after our marriage.
My sending church was St George’s Church in Poole, middle of the road Anglican, from where I gained my love of liturgy, especially the Eucharist. Following ordination I served my curacy at St Peter’s Church in Parkstone before moving to assist at Holy Angels’, Lilliput, in 2008 when the parish was in interregnum. I subsequently became the Priest-in-charge and later the Vicar of Lilliput when the suspension of the benefice was removed.
Prior to Bishops’ Selection Conference in 2003, my Director of Ordinands asked me what I thought was the key challenge facing the Church; my response was ‘relevance.’ As a teacher of teenagers I knew only too well that many young people have little or no knowledge of the Lord, or contact with Church, and all too often no desire for this either. I also knew that it is not only the young who are non-churched, in the space of only a generation the number of people of all generations attending church has reduced, often significantly. Personally, I love traditional models of church and liturgical worship. At the same time I am passionate about mission and growing disciples; prayerfully attempting to discern where God is at work and leading his Church and asking for grace to join in with this. The task that God seems to present to us today is how to grow disciples and build up the Kingdom through traditional models of church and through fresh expressions; holding them together in creative tension.
In my ministry, in recent years, this has led to significant work with children and young families as well as outreach to a more senior generation through, for example, a Lunch Club.
The work that God had for me before is not necessarily as it will be in the future of course. In my first few months in Wool, East Stoke, East Burton, Coombe Keynes and Bovington I hope to do lots of visiting and lots of listening.
As we prepare for my Licensing at the end of the month, please pray for us, for my ministry here and for our shared common life in Christ. "
With every blessing -
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