Most will know that there is to be a further development in the way the two benefices of the Purbeck Hills and the Corfe Valley are organised and work together.
As well as being neighbours we have been, what is technically known as, a group ministry since the late 1970s. This permits incumbents to minister in each of the benefices. The nature of this has varied over the years. lf you speak to people who were around in the 1980s, they will tell you about several joint ventures – a joint mission lead by the Franciscans from Hillfield, for example. lf you dig around in some of our vestry cupboards you will find copies of leaflet about the St. Aldhelm Group; that was the name chosen for the Group. In more recent times, we have worked together in a more background way. I have myself valued working with both Judith and Gaynor and getting to know the churches, both buildings and congregations, of the Purbeck hills.
At the moment formal consultations are taking place about the proposed changes and it is important we allow space for that to happen. All our PCCs, the patrons of the parishes and I are involved as well as others in the deanery and diocese being notified. As you know the proposal is that we become one benefice and so there will be an incumbent based at Corfe Castle and a ‘house for duty’ priest based at Langton looking after the respective parishes as organised at present but working together. An appointment to the post based in the Purbeck Hills’ parishes will be made as soon as possible; although, we cannot at the moment say when this will be.
It is difficult to explain everything in a short article. Do speak to the Churchwardens and PCC members in the Benefice if you have questions and pass on any thoughts or suggestions. Obviously it is a time of change and some uncertainty. However, it is most encouraging that there is a very positive approach in the Purbeck Hills’ parishes.
I hope we can continue with a glass half full (rather than half empty) approach. Whether or not we have ‘Rev’ in front of our name, we all have a part to play. Above all, seeking to be open to God and supporting each other, we can trust God that the life and witness of our Christian communities will continue and flourish.
Revd. Ian Jackson, Parish of Corfe Castle