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Astley Parish

Church News

A new Priest for the Benefice!

It was announced, yesterday, Sunday 4 February, that the Reverend Paul Cawthorne, currently Team Vicar with the Dorchester (Oxfordshire) Team, has formally accepted the offer of Priest in Charge of our Benefice.  This is marvellous news and we should all now rejoice!  No date has yet been set for his licensing but news will appear here when available.

The Interregnum; what does it mean?

Our priest, Rob Haarhoff, retired on 31 May 2017 after 15 years' dedicated ministry in our parish.  An interregnum now follows, during which we search for a replacement, following a long-established procedure which, inevitably, is somewhat complicated by having to blend the requirements of the four parishes in the Benefice. To help steer us through the process we have the assistance of the Rural Dean (Adam Clayton), the Archdeacon (Paul Thomas) and the Bishop of Shrewsbury (Mark Rylands), for which we are truly grateful.

Things got under way with a joint-PCC meeting on 25 April at which Archdeacon Paul Thomas described how we go about selecting a new priest.  Next came our own PCC Section 11 meeting in May when Dorothy Dodds and Martin Locke were nominated as official PCC representatives at future meetings and for selection interviews.  The four parishes produced an individual Statement of Need (Parish Profile), a job description and a person specification, all of which are intended to inform the prospective candidate(s) applying for the post.   Our combined submissions were then discussed and agreed at a joint, Section 12 meeting on 15 June chaired by Bishop Mark Rylands, and the final, joint profile was published.    Only one application was received following the initial and subsequent adverts in the Church Times.  The applicant was interviewed on 25 January 2018, and an offer was made which, to our delight, the Reverend Paul Cawthorne accepted.  Until he is officially licensed we will continue with our two services on average each month at St Mary’s (see Church Services in drop-down menu, above).  We are most grateful that retired clergy in neighbouring pariahes have offered to officiate where they are free from other commitments.

Rob’s last service on Sunday 4 June at Hadnall

Rob and Pat had a splendid send-off following Rob's last service in the Benefice, held in a packed (standing room only) St Mary Magdalene in Hadnall on 4 June when, before the Holy Communion was administered, representatives of each parish gave a short valedictory address to thank him for 15 year's ministry and dedicated service.

The combined congregation then assembled in the village hall to enjoy an excellent buffet lunch during which we had the opportunity to chat to Rob and Pat and to offer them our personal thanks and best wishes for their move to Wem.

The cake donated by the four parishes The cake donated by the four parishes