Churchwarden’s News – Jacqueline Brown

Lest we Forget

Remembrance Sunday on 12th November saw a wide variety of services across the Parish, and the main Civic service for the Royal British Legion was held at the Parish Church. The church was full as always – we estimate that 500 people were in our church and we managed to seat everyone in comfort. It was wonderful to see so many young people, including Air Cadets from 2515 Ringwood and Fordingbridge ATC Squadron, Ringwood Guides and Brownies, Fire Service Cadets and Fordingbridge Army Cadets.

We are so grateful to Revd Terry Roberts for pulling all of the strands of this service together. Terry is Chaplain to the Royal British Legion in Ringwood, so it is particularly fitting that he leads this service where the Legion, church and townspeople come together. Our other churches in Ellingham, Harbridge, Poulner and Bisterne also marked the occasion with their own services. We turn our thoughts now to November 2018, which will be the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which ended The Great War.  It is hoped that our town will be able to put on a very special event to mark this Centenary, so do look out for more details next year.

Christmas is coming!

As Christmas approaches, we begin a full schedule of rehearsals and concerts in the Parish Church for many of our local schools. These are very busy times for your churchwardens, and if you can help by being in church for the schools and helping them to set up, please let me or Steve know. It is wonderful to see so many young people and their families coming into our church. This is a very important part of our ministry to the town, and if you believe church attendance is falling, do come along to our Christingle on the 23rd at 4.30pm, when it will be full to the brim!  Over the course of three weeks up to Christmas, some 2000 people will come to celebrate Christmas in their Parish Church.

Ringwood Town Council have again arranged a Christmas Fair and the switching on of the Ringwood Christmas Lights, on Saturday 2nd December. There will be stalls and performances in the High Street and Market Place all day, from 10am. Father Christmas arrives at 4pm and the lights will be switched on at 4.30pm. The Parish Church will be holding their Christmas Fair to coincide with the town event, from 11am – 4pm.  We’ll be open, bright, warm and welcoming with refreshments, many stalls – including a home-made chocolates and confectionery stall – games, and Messy Christmas. As I write the planning is well underway.

Our Committees

I’m sure that Matthew is now feeling that his diary is full of committee meetings – all of which he enjoys very much, I am sure! But the first one which he attended in our Benefice was our SPCM – Special Parochial Church  Meeting. Because of the Scheme of Pastoral Re-organisation, we needed to  elect a new PCC with members from all five of our churches. You’ll remember that PCC elections are usually done at the APCM at the end of April each year, but we needed this extra meeting to combine the Ellingham and Harbridge members with the Ringwood members.

I’m really pleased that we had such a good number of people keen to volunteer and get involved with the running of our Parish. The PCC is the only body in a Parish which has a legal identity and responsibility and is therefore a vitally important decision-making group. The full list of members was included in last month’s magazine, both the elected members and the ex-officio – those who are on the PCC because of another post they hold – Steve and I as churchwardens for example. The Scheme gave the PCC the right to delegate authority to a church committee for each place of worship – something we’re very familiar with.  There are some changes though. Firstly, elected PCC members must now sit on the committee of the church which they represent. This wasn’t so in the past, and it was rather anomalous that a person could be elected for say, St John’s Church, and yet not be on the church committee. The new arrangement makes for much better communication in both directions. Secondly, the Scheme states that between two and four further members may be elected to the church committee from tits congregations. So, there is still the opportunity to help and support your place of worship without being on the PCC.

The PCC is now a large group! Do remember that they represent you, so ask any questions you may have, or for your thoughts on any matter to be taken forward.  We are excited to move forward under Matthew and Ian’s leadership, to address the challenges we face and to reach out with God’s love to the people of our area.