By Revd. Judith Sweetman
I thought it might help if I took this chance to introduce myself, having been licensed to the Reepham and Wensum Valley Team as part-time honorary associate priest.
I retired to Reepham, with my husband Rufus, in 2018, My evolving faith journey has been varied: a small free church, meeting in a home and school; an urban Baptist Church – 200 attending; four small country parish churches – churchwarden and lay reader for 10 years; three years in my curacy church – high church tradition,100+ attending; and finally, eight years as priest in charge of five, mainly rural parishes in Suffolk.
When I came to Reepham, I hoped to be involved in church life and support Revds. Keith and Helen Rengert, so I took occasional Sunday Services and helped cover holidays.
In spite of this, I felt I had more to give and missed having a pastoral role in the community. This coincided with Keith and Helen swapping roles and Keith wanting to devote more time to Reepham High School and College, as chaplain.
From our discussions came the idea for a new voluntary role within the team, in which I could support these changes and fulfil my wish to be more active, with a focus on pastoral care, mainly in the Reepham area.
So, I am now available to the benefice more fully, with three ministry days: Friday (when Keith and Helen now have their rest day), Saturday and Sunday, when I will be taking services more regularly.
It is strange to take up this post when pastoral visiting and care is difficult due to Covid-19. Nevertheless, I hope I can still find ways to be a channel of God’s love, comfort and concern.
We all need to experience those, especially at this time of the church year. At All Saints and All Souls, we remember – and may still be grieving for – loved ones who have died, and at Remembrance, we give thanks for the sacrifices of many, but also lament, and are appalled by, the continuing tragedies of war, conflict and suffering, across our world.
The Christian faith, though, shines its strong, radiant light into these darker times, with its hope of eternal life in God after death.
And we end the church year by celebrating the Feast of Christ the King, that joyful promise that, ultimately, through the working of God’s Spirit, transforming each of us and our world, Christ’s Kingdom of justice will be established, good will prevail over evil, and life over death.