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Views from the Vicarage - June 2019

Dear Friends,

S. Mary's is almost unique in having a great variety of services. On a Sunday there is an 8am Holy Communion service. A simple said prayerful service which lasts for half an hour, good for those who want to get up and go for the day. The first Sunday of the month it is also a Prayer Book service, for those who like the Book of Common Prayer. Then at 10.15am is our Parish Eucharist which is meant for everyone. A straight forward modern service sung to a variety of settings and hymns which lasts about an hour. On the third Sunday of the month it is a Family Eucharist in which children and young people play a significant part.

Fifth Sunday can be something a little different - this month we have a modern service in traditional language sung to a setting (Merbecke) which has been used for centuries. We are blest in that so many people take part, from choir to servers, to sidesmen/women to welcomers, tea & coffee makers to readers. We all have a part to play. Then in the evening at 6.30pm we have Evensong, which has all but disappeared elsewhere. A Sung Prayer Book Service familiar to those who have been brought up in the church. Three services every Sunday. This is something very special!
Midweek we have the new rite Mass on Tuesdays at 7pm, and Holy Communion on Wednesdays at 10.3Oam followed by tea or coffee and you are welcome just to turn up for coffee at 11am. Added to these two midweek services are the major saints or red letter days which should be kept, such as S. Peter on 29th June. Then come the Festivals like Epiphany or Ascension Day. This month we have Corpus Christi or Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of the Holy Communion, to give it its full title, at 7pm on Thursday 20th June, the first Thursday after the Easter Season. After the service everyone is invited back to the Vicarage for refreshments (Wine & Cheese).
This is a tradition that I inherited when I became Vicar of Ellesmere and I have kept. From 1849 when S. Mary's was rebuilt (and earlier) to today we have been in the High Church or Oxford Movement tradition, with our services liturgically rich (some with incense) and our theology that the Church of England is part on the One, Holy, Catholic Church. We proclaim the gospel as handed on to us from the apostles and worship God in the beauty of holiness. This is our USP. I love our church, our town and it's people.

My Prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar