NEW CURATE TO JOIN St RICHARD’s & St THOMAS à BECKET PARISHES IN SEPTEMBER 2020
INTRODUCTION FROM MTHR LUCY SULLIVAN
To all in the parishes of Aldwick and Pagham,
It is very good to be able to introduce myself to you a little following the announcement that I am to join you as Curate-in-Charge of the parishes of Aldwick and Pagham.
My formal formation began at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, West Yorkshire. And I was ordained Deacon at Petertide in 2018 and Priest on Trinity Sunday 2019. I’ve enjoyed the last two years as Assistant Curate in Rottingdean, just East of Brighton. However, it’s likely you’ve got these details already, so here’s a little of what has led me to this point…
I grew up in Croydon, Surrey and first moved to Sussex when I did my first degree at the University of Chichester where I studied Sport and Exercise Sciences, BSc. I stayed put in Chichester for a total of 7 years working in the field of exercise prescription with NHS programmes in Chichester, Bognor Regis, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. I was sponsored for ordination by St George’s, Whyke, not too far from Aldwick and Pagham. In many ways moving back to this part of West Sussex has a feeling of returning home!
In the year before starting my theological training I joined the Church of England Ministerial Experience Scheme and moved to the Isle of Man to work as a pastoral assistant at the Cathedral on the West coast and also in the Parish of Laxey on the East coast. The best description of this year was to say that I was “trying on Vicaring for size”! I’ve grown up in the church and since my teenage years known that I was being called by God to something, however, I was very slow to listen properly and to understand what this might be – fearful of what might come with ordination and therefore reluctant to take steps forward until the Isle of Man opportunity came up. This was without doubt one of the most transformational experiences of my life and through prayer and practice I was able to start seeing myself in priestly ministry.
I am so looking forward to joining these two distinct communities of Aldwick and Pagham. Of getting to know you all as best I can, to understand your own journeys to this point and, I hope, to being part of what happens next in whatever way seems appropriate.
We join together in such strange times: as a country as we start to slowly recover from the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, of course with caution about what the next phase of this might look like.; and also, in this time for the parishes of Aldwick and Pagham.
Please know that I come to be among you, to pray with and for you, and to listen to where God is leading this Christian community through the Holy Spirit.
Yours in Christ
LETTER FROM THE VENERABLE LUKE IRVINE-CAPEL
ARCHDEACON OF CHICHESTER
First, I would like to thank you for all that you and your Wardens have been doing during the vacancy in your Parish and, in particular, for the work that has gone into caring for the people and places of your Parish during the recent months. A vacancy always presents challenges, but those have been heightened with the unprecedented demands of the Coronavirus pandemic and it has been humbling and wonderful to see the generosity and fidelity of your response. Thank you.
You will be aware that when the vacancies in Pagham and Aldwick arose the Bishop suspended both Livings. This is not a punitive action. Rather, it means that the Bishop can work with me and your PCC’s to review options of pastoral reorganisation as we consider a future pattern of sustainable and expansive ministry.
Of course, we are living in unprecedented times and the challenges we face have made new demands of us. The deployment of our clergy is one such challenge.
However, whilst the financial realities of life are a significant and inevitable factor in our life as a household of faith, the overwhelming priority is the pastoral and sacramental care of God’s holy people, feeding and equipping us all for work of mission and evangelisation.
To that end, the Bishop has discussed with me and the Wardens the idea of a secondment of a final year curate to serve both Parishes, and this is now something that we wish to progress.
Mthr Lucy Sullivan is currently in her final year of curacy in Rottingdean. In order for her to seconded to Pagham and Aldwick she will need to be licensed as an Assistant Curate and we have agreed that she would be licensed to Bosham to ensure that she has appropriate supervision and mentoring from the very experienced Parish Priest there. However, she will not have any ministerial responsibility in Bosham and her entire focus and energy will be in serving Aldwick and Pagham. This will ensure that both Parishes receive priestly ministry sooner rather than later. There is no obligation on Lucy or the Parishes for her to become Priest in Charge of both parishes in a years time, however we hope that this could be the direction of travel if this year goes well for all concerned.
Mthr Lucy will live in rented accommodation in one of the Parishes, and this is yet to be identified. Both vicarages will be rented out to ensure that they are not an additional responsibility for the Wardens and PCC, and so that the income can help address the considerable pressures faced by the Diocese.
Clearly, there will be a need for flexibility and creativity when it comes to reviewing service times. The current prohibition on public worship affords us all an opportunity to review our pattern of worship and plan for how we might re-gather when that is possible. I will work with Mthr Lucy and the Wardens in this. It is a great blessing that both parishes already have active Lay ministry as well as the generosity of retired clergy to draw upon. Part of the opportunity that this secondment presents us with is the time to see how the ministry, mission and outreach can be expanded and strengthened across both Parishes.
I hope that this exciting initiative is one that will be welcomed and embraced, and that you will look forward to welcoming Mthr Lucy in September.
Please be assured of my continued prayer and thanksgiving for you all,
The Venerable Luke Irvine-Capel
Archdeacon of Chichester
LETTER FROM THE CHURCHWARDENS
You will have all seen and read the statement from our Archdeacon, regarding the Secondment of Mother Lucy Sullivan to serve the parishes of Aldwick and Pagham. We thought as Churchwardens of St Richards, you would want to have our thoughts.
During our discussions we were both encouraged by the care and thought that Fr Luke has continued to give our Parish during these difficult times and that finding a solution to our interregnum and our pastoral care remained in his prayers and thoughts.
For us as Churchwardens of St Richards, our priority had to be our community, its spiritual growth both short and long term, the implications of Covid-19 on the return to church life, not least as we use retired Priests, many of whom maybe required to further isolate over the coming months. Additionally, we felt it was right to be pragmatic and understand the wider implications for our Deanery and Diocese, especially on financial pressures brought about by these exceptional times.
Taking all the above together and trusting Fr Luke as we do, we approached the subject of Mthr Lucy joining us and Pagham to complete her Curacy with an open mind. Having met with Mthr Lucy and discussed at length our Parish, we were both not only impressed with her, that she ticked so many of the boxes in our Parish profile and were left feeling certain that this is the right option, the right choice at the right time. It was clear to us, why the Archdeacon and the Bishop have such faith in her.
This secondment means that the normal selection processes are not observed, the decision is made for us. As Fr Luke mentions in his statement, “her entire focus and energy will be in serving Aldwick and Pagham”. – “There is no obligation on Lucy or the Parishes for her to become Priest in Charge of both parishes in a years’ time.” As we all know, a year is a long time, we should not get ahead of ourselves, yet we both believe our wonderful community at St Richards, known for its care and friendliness, will make Mthr Lucy welcome and will embrace and work with her to ensure that our community, receives the Spiritual guidance and faithful growth it deserves.
Mike & Julie Broad