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Views from the Vicarage - September 2019

Dear Friends,

All good things must come to an end! I retire this month as Vicar of S. Mary's Ellesmere. The advert for a new vicar has already gone into the Church Times and I believe that a new appointment will be made at the beginning of October.

I was Inducted and Instituted as Incumbent of Ellesmere on the 13th Setember 1992 and my farewell is a wine and cheese party on the Friday 13, exactly 27 years after I came here. My last Service is our Patronal Festival on Sunday 8th September on the Feast of the Birth of The Blessed Virgin Mary, our church's birthday! It would be lovely to see you there.

S. Mary's is very special. It is one of the few parishes left with one town, one church and one priest, an ideal situation in the church. Not only that but we have a beautiful church building and a wonderful vicarage with great views of the mere, and a supportive congregation.

When I first arrived I knew that there was a great challenge ahead of me. The parish share was then £10,000 pa but with a £15,000 deficit. Until last year we have paid our parish share in full which is now around £48,000 nearly the cost of ministry. There was also a huge building programme necessary. We first restored S. John's roof. Then we embarked on restoring the tower with its roof and stonework. I remember abseiling down the tower and starting the '200 Club'. I also set up the 'Friends of S. Mary's Trust' to cope with the restoration on maintenance of S. Mary's over the years. A local person approached me to buy the old S. Mary's Hall on Victoria Street. After consolation and approval at the APCM we did the S. John's project of turning S. John's Chapel into a parish room, building the kitchen and toilet, and rebuilding the organ, all of which has proved to be very useful.

Then I installed a new sound system which is still good today. Building work continued with the south transept roof, the chancel roof, and the north transept roof. The church also had new lighting and was redecorated about twenty years ago. A few years ago the bells were restored thanks to a splendid effort by the bell ringers. Recently we have had a new boiler which has made our church much warmer and the pipes have just been updated. There is a constant need for maintenance and repairs, we still have the nave roof to do.

I was very fortunate to have the help of a number of retired clergy, from Canon Keith Wilkes, Fr Maurice Gray, Fr Tommy Griffiths, Fr Tom Boulcott, and Fr John Vernon. As well as having wonderful colleagues, a good congregation, supportive Church Wardens and PCC, and reliable Sacristans, I have much enjoyed the worship here Sunday by Sunday as well as all our special services. I know I will miss you all but wish you well with the challenges and changes for the future.

My Prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar