St. Mary's Church, Woodbridge
"We are here for the glory of God; to be the body of Christ, broken and restored to reflect the Gospel in our lives."
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Joy amidst the gloom

Cold air, grey clouds, heavy rain, a leaden sky and gusty winds; this was the morning of Sunday, 25th January in Woodbridge. One of those dark mornings when it is a real effort to get out of bed and venture outside. But that is what many did as they made their way, under umbrellas struggling to stay open, to the Parish Church of St. Mary’s. Large congregations are the norm here, so what was so special about this particular Sunday morning?

Was it the presence of a Bishop? Was it the promise of lunch after the service? Was it, perhaps, because it was a special occasion for several folk there? Maybe, it was a combination of all these!

The Right Reverend Clive Young, Suffragan Bishop of Dunwich, presided at a celebration of the Parish Eucharist during which The Revd. Dr. John Hare was licensed as Assistant Priest. Also, two members of the congregation, Barbara Bown and Jill Richardson, were commissioned as new Elders, and seven existing Elders were re-commissioned for a further period in office: Andrew Bullard, Beryl Dyer, Anthony Hubbard, Margaret Lowe, Colin Richmond, Jeremy Stewart and Andrew Todd.

Bishop Clive with Clergy and Elders.

This joyous occasion lifted the spirit as voices were raised in familiar hymns with words reflecting the service these individuals were called upon to give to the parish. The large choir and vibrant organ added to the atmosphere which helped to dispel the gloom of the weather outside.

In his address, the Bishop also referred to other stories of joy and gloom: the joy of finding ancient gold coins buried in a Suffolk field, and the gloom of everyday media reports of our troubled world. And nearer to home, the distress caused by the recession, fears of terrorism and concern over violence in our cities. He reflected on the years of history which have shaped our present society since those coins were produced and buried, and the ‘treasures’ we have today in our lives. Celebrating the Conversion of St. Paul, he recalled how this man who, as Saul, had done so much evil against the supporters of Jesus, had become one of His greatest servants and preachers. We were reminded that it is not the privileged few who are called to serve, but each and every one of us in his or her own way, however humble and insignificant that may seem.

After coffee in the Church, John, together with his family and friends, were joined by many for a parish lunch in St. Mary’s Church Centre.