A Letter for St Mary Magdalene's: Two Months to Go

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A letter from Adrian

Two months to go

September 9th 2017

Dear friends

It is an extraordinary feeling to know that, two months today, on Thursday 9th November, St Mary Magdalene's church will officially re-open in a splendid service of rededication at 8pm. Please make sure the date is your diary. I hope that you will be there for one of the most historic occasions in our community for many years.

Since the church closed in May, the clergy, churchwardens, and PCC, have been busier than ever. It is good to report that the worshipping community has held together, though not as strongly as I had hoped. It is time for that to change.

When I wrote to you all in May I said that the church we get back will be an Easter experience: the same, but different. Just as our patron, Mary Magdalene, encountered the mystery of the strange and familiar combined on the first Easter day, so will we. In order to be prepared for this once-in-a-generation experience, we need to be ready, spiritually and emotionally, for what lies ahead.

So, I encourage all of you, whether you’ve been worshipping faithfully during the summer at the school and the Methodist Church, or not, to make Sunday worship in these next two months a priority for you and your family. There will be much teaching; special sermons, sessions, and learning together – as well as the fellowship we share as part of Christ’s body in Woodstock, nourished by the Sacraments, and strengthened by the Word.

It is vital that we keep in touch with one another – and the best way to do that is to sign up for our weekly newsletter. At the time of writing we now email this to 130 people, which is fantastic. As well as the weekly newssheet, it has photographs, updates, and important announcements. Email Marion stmmwoodstock@gmail.com or visit the website to make it happen. If you are not on the internet, please telephone Marion in the office, and we will find a way of keeping you connected.

We have many plans for the future: as well as our opening service, there will be many special events, including a gala concert on Saturday November 18th, and the Christmas Market on Saturday November 25th. Special services in Advent will use our new lighting resources to astonishing effect. In the New Year we intend to plant two new congregations in monthly afternoon services, reaching out to young families and teenagers/young adults. And a number of other new initiatives will increase our outreach and pastoral support to the community.

We are still fundraising too. The generosity of the Duke and his staff have enabled us to be supported by an interest-free loan (as well as a substantial gift). That loan needs to be paid off, and your support in that, as well as other areas of ministry, will be essential.

In the first nine days of November I shall be inviting the whole community to share in a concentrated time of prayer in the run-up to the service of rededication. But we need not wait until then. Your prayers are the greatest contribution to our life, and we value them above all else. So does God. Please pray that God will continue to pour his blessings upon our project – and come and join us, Sunday by Sunday, that, praying together, we may be ready to worship and witness afresh in two months’ time.

With my prayers for you, and your family

The Reverend Canon ADRIAN DAFFERN

Team Rector of the Benefice of Blenheim
Assistant Archdeacon of Dorchester