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St Matilda's Church

Parish Re-Organisation
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Diocesan Reorganisation

The situation is still much the same on this account, with a good deal of coming and going between committees, members of the Privy Council, and otrhers. So we leave our report much the same as before.

Under new proposals our diocese is to be amalgamated with its mother Diocese, so returning to the situation before the Diocese was formed in the Edwardian period.

The present two Bishops are to remain in post until their retirement when our Diocese, formed during the Edwardian period will be returned to its mother diocese. There will be a reduction in staff, our diocese being served only by a single Suffragan Bishop with "Area Bishop" status and responsibilities. He will be assisted by a single archdeacon, meaning that two of our present archdeaconries will be suppressed when the incumbent archdeacons retire.

Our parish, which is at the edge of our present diocese, will be joined with the parishes upstream along the river as far as that great Victorian institution "Buttend" with all its glories.

The arrangement will be a mixture of an overall "Group Ministry" working alongside the present Team Ministries and parishes, forming approximately half of the new Rural Deanery, not named at present but possibly being called "South Downset" or perhaps "Melba" deanery after the castle which will now lie approximately at its centre. The exact status of Potherton has yet to be decided, but may become a "peculiar" allied to either Stretchey or Melba Castle, its incumbent being termed "Dean of Potherton."

All this provides an exciting time for co-operative ministry and the development of the individuality of each parish and chapel within the new system, as the leadership teams work together for their mutual benefit.

A glorious opportunity lies ahead of us. The earlier rumour (that there were discussions taking place with our Roman Catholic colleagues to provide at least one centre for the proposed Anglican-style "Ordinariate" of the Roman Church based on the existing hospitality offered with church sharing arrangements) is producing fruit in that the congregation of St. Friedeswide-in-the-Marsh have opted for such an arrangement rather than face the closure of the Church. It is understood that the local ordinariate group most likely to benefit has chosen a name for itself as "The Community of St. Kieran of Clocmacnois."

We understand that there has been a certain amount of raising of eyebrows at this suggestion on the part of both Anglican and Roman authorities. However, Fr. Stan de Ferme, the leader of this group was ordained into the Roman Catholic ministry before Easter and the remaining postulants were received thither on Easter Day 2011 with great joy.

As regards the name given to this community, Fr. Ferme instances the legend of St. Columcille on his way to Iona and caught in the infamous and merciless Corryvrechan whirlpool throwing a sod from Kieran's grave into the swirling waters threatening to end them all. The tumult calmed down and the voyagers went their way. "It seems an allegory for our present dilemmas" he said " Let's hope that his prayers achieve the same quiet for every kind of Anglican, those of us in the ordinariate and our brothers and sisters continuing on in the Church of England and her sister churches."

Please remember this overall situation in your prayers as the details trickle down to the PCCs and the parishes. At present the new "Ordinariate" congregation is meeting in the local Roman Catholic parish church. However the legal advisers have been hard at work and it looks as if an arrangement will be made so that it can meet locally in what was once their home church as Anglicans. As the remaining Church of England congregation is very happy about this and, we are pleased to relate, the two congregations get along very well, we can now look forward to the day when they both share the same building.

The present Lay Co-Chair of the Parochial Church Council, Lady Hamilton-Bloghswych-Montgomery, commented, "It will be good to see the stupidities of our Tudor forebears thoroughly undone and all our Anglican brothers and sisters working together in harmony."

It is rumoured that the ordinariate group is eager to return, not just for the sake of a familar building, but also to use the hymn books. "Those 'worship songs' are absolutely awful" a spokesperson said. However they will have to be patient a little longer! For ourselves the cry "English Hymnal rules OK" will continue to be heard aiongside only the best of the new.

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