Rector’s Letter – February 2019

As In Focus comes to your home at the end of January 2019, I am sure that during these last months you will have heard the word BREXIT many, many times! As I write to you in early January, Parliament will vote on the Euro Exit Deal and if it is rejected our nation faces an uncertain future.

At all services each Sunday, we spend time praying for our nation’s leaders and our government. We pray either with the familiar versicle “O Lord save the Queen” responding “and grant our government wisdom” or at Holy Communion asking that God would “defend all Christian Kings, Princes and Governors and especially thy servant Elizabeth our Queen; that under her we may be godly and quietly governed.” We pray for wisdom for our Prime Minister and all members of parliament; remembering our own MP Lady Sylvia Hermon. I know many MPs will desire our prayers in a moment of great change for our nation.

As I write to you in Donaghadee Parish we are undergoing a period of change. At the Rectory, major renovations are taking place with an extension to provide accommodation for a new toilet, a study, utility room and kitchen. We are blessed in our Parish to have a fine Church building and a wonderful suite of Church Halls. The Rectory, in a secluded garden setting, is a fine house and has been a wonderful family home. To have such good buildings is the result of the vision of many generations of Select Vestry members and you the members of the congregation who have given sacrificially to both the Freewill Offering Envelopes and the White Fabric/Refurbishment & Renewal Envelopes as well as the many fund-raising events that take place in our Church.

The work on the Rectory will enable us to maintain it to Diocesan standards and to update import components like study, toilet, kitchen and the heating system. As we go to print the work is progressing well and should be finished mid-March. On Sunday 3rd February we will have a Gift Day Service at 10.30am and I would ask each family to consider how
they might support this project by:
* A one-off gift,
* A Standing Order to the Refurbishment & Renewal Fund
* Commit to using the White Envelopes.
Thank you to the many families who sacrificially support the work of our Parish – it is not just the minister’s stipend and accommodation that is provided! The offering also maintains the whole work of the Church amongst children and young people, our older folks and the many organisations who used the halls. All of this requires money in order to make it happen!
Please prayerfully consider how you can play your part.

Finally, a tribute to our organist and evening choir who have been an important part of worship in Donaghadee Parish. Mrs May Watterson has been our Organist for the last sixteen years and will retire at the beginning of February 2019. I will very much miss her ministry at the organ and with
the choir. As Rector, May has been a wonderful organist to share ministry with and we have had a great working relationship and friendship. She is a fine organist and has brought much to important congregational services as well as the many funerals and weddings she has played for. Her choice of music at important occasions – especially at funerals – has been very sensitive and I know many families have appreciated her ministry at the organ at those difficult times.

As May has announced her own retirement, the eight members of our evening choir have also decided to retire. This is a brave step and they all felt that they had given many years of service some in the choir for over forty years. As Rector, I have appreciated the friendship of the choir and have on occasions enjoyed singing with them as they have faithfully led worship. Thank you to each one for their ministry to us and we
wish them well in retirement.