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Letter from February/March 2014

posted 8 Apr 2014, 03:16 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 8 Apr 2014, 03:16 ]

From the interim priest-in-charge Rev’d Lisa Eunson ...

It has been such a privilege to do ministry with you all over these past months. It is exciting to witness these holy transitions, and to see the hope and life continue to spring forth as we move into the next phase.

The Christmas season was particularly rich, with extraordinary services of music and prayer and faith stories, offered in very full churches with local communities made welcome. The Ballater Primary School service on Friday Dec 20th filled the pews at St Kentigern’s, and then every chair from the hall, and still we had people standing. It must be some kind of record. Continuing the delight, we saw many of the same faces return for the Village Carol Service that Sunday. Both of these events were particularly moving because those gathered were of all ages, and from very different places on the road of faith. To see young people reading, and even reciting from memory, was particularly heart warming.

The Bishop has written his own words about similar events at St Thomas, and may I add how stunned I was to see so many gathered in Aboyne late on Christmas Eve, not daunted by the gales.

Christmas services would not have happened in our churches at all without the good and faithful work of Stuart Yarnell and John Lovie and Hugh Dawson. To these kind and wise and generous lay readers may I publicly state my deep appreciation for all they do, all year long, and all they have taught me in this time together.

Many of you have very kindly thanked me for my enthusiasm and care, and the Bishop for his wise guidance. But surely you must know the pleasure it is to serve you. You give so much: in creative planning, faithful commitment, and good old fashioned hard work. I will particularly remember all the shared laughter, as that is the number one indicator of spiritual health!

I was frankly not sure I could hand over the keys to your next incumbent, having grown quite attached to you all. But having met Vittoria I am more than pleased to see her join you, and all of us in the Diocese. She brings many special gifts that will be offered with energy, clarity, and a real heart for both lay ministry and rural congregations. I very much look forward to having her as a colleague and friend.

My personal goal for this time together was an opportunity to build on connections between all of the Deeside congregations. Even in this short interregnum, I trust that has happened, and pray we will continue to ‘grow together in unity and love’ in the years ahead.

With all blessings,

Lisa

... and from our new Rector!

Greetings from Port William! As I sit here writing this, the sun has finally come out of hiding and the waves are gently lapping on the shore-line. A great change to last week's weather with the sea coming up to the front-door step and the rain pouring down.

And even more changes will shortly arise as I pack up my clutter and move up to Ballater. I am looking forward to being surrounded by hills again – that's one of the things I've missed this last year. More than that, I am looking forward to getting to know you all in Aboyne and Ballater.  I'll be the recognizable one with the dog-collar on. If you see me wandering around, please do stop me and say hello.

I come to you with a varied background – my previous post was that of Cathedral Chaplain and Diocesan Evangelism officer in North Wales, but prior to that I was a parish priest in a variety of parishes in Wales. For the last year I've been on sabbatical, based in South West Scotland. I've earned my living doing some art work, leading retreats, writing, teaching computing skills and doing some storytelling. An eclectic mix of things!

I am passionate about living life in all its fullness, with laughter, friendship and joy. I look forward to sharing my life and my faith with you, as we worship, laugh, weep, and celebrate life together.

Vittoria Hancock