On the last Saturday of June it was a joy and a privilege to be at Portsmouth Cathedral for the ordination to the priesthood of our Curate, Matt. As I arrived, my phone helpfully advised me that it was two years since I had last been in that place – another symptom of lockdown.
Clergy in the Church of England are first ordained as a deacon and then, usually, ordained as a priest around a year later. That is not always the case; a small number of clergy remain as deacons. Being ordained as a priest means, amongst other things, that Matt can preside at Holy Communion, which he did for the first time at St John’s on the day after his ordination and will do so for the first time at Christ Church on 4th July.
It was good to see so many of the Christ Church family at the cathedral. The service was led by Bishop Rob, the Commissary (or interim) Bishop of Portsmouth. The preacher, The Revd Canon Sandra Millar, suggested that being a priest in God’s church was a bit like working in The Repair Shop, a TV programme where much loved, but damaged and decaying items, are repaired and restored. However damaged we are, God gently cares for us and seeks to restore us. Those of us who minister in God’s church are called to share in that work of love.
We pray for Matt as he continues to minister in our church, serving the God who “heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
To maintain good governance of the church during this difficult time, the PCC has continued to meet. Since March 2020, we have only been able to meet once in person, but at other times we have met online. Additionally the Standing Committee meets twice per month.
At the online meeting on 26th May, the PCC discussed the following:
- The Church Hall floor, which was awaiting assessment of possible dry rot
- The proposed parish restructure, which was due to be discussed at Deanery Synod in June
- The financial challenges faced by the parish
- The 2020 accounts and annual report, which were approved
- The forthcoming ordination of Revd Matt Grove
- Sunday services and the changes brought in at step 3 of the release from lockdown
- The purchase of a wooden lectern using a donation given in 2017 for that purpose
At the online meeting on 23rd June, the PCC discussed the following:
- The Church Hall floor, which was still awaiting assessment of possible dry rot (scheduled for 5th July)
- The proposed parish restructure, which could see the parishes of Portsdown, Purbrook, Crookhorn and Waterlooville merged.
- The postponement of the move to step 4 of the release from lockdown
- A revised quote for the completion of the project to restore the north drive which, to comply with conditions proposed by the arboriculturist, has risen to £22,000. The PCC has agreed that the work to reopen the church hall must take priority and considered investigating a short to mid-term solution by which the north driveway will remain pedestrianised.
- Church finances, which currently see income falling short of expenditure by around £2,000 per month.
- Plans for the APCM on 14th July, which will be a hybrid meeting with both in-person and online attendance.
- The visit of Archdeacon Jenny to preach at The 11.00 Service on 25th July.
Revd Andy Wilson
Vicar, Christ Church Portsdown
Priest-in-Charge, St John the Baptist Purbrook
Curate, Church of the Good Shepherd Crookhorn
Chaplain, Havant & Waterlooville FC