The Rev David Farey reflects on his first two weeks as the new Vicar of Hellingly and Upper Dicker
Have you ever tried jumping onto a moving roller coaster? I don’t recommend it but it’s probably the closest description to what it’s like becoming the minister of a church where there’s already a lot going on.
Two weeks into being Vicar of Hellingly and Upper Dicker I am beginning to get a handle on what is happening – and it’s a lot! Within hours I already had four weddings and a funeral to deal with!
First priority is to get to know the people. Everybody living in a church parish is a vicar’s responsibility in giving them pastoral and spiritual care.
At the Institution service you promise to love them and care for them following the example of Christ’s death on the Cross.
So far I have found out that it’s a close knit and supportive community with lots of people moving within the area and having lots of family close by.
There are mixed feelings about the new developments around Hailsham, and I can see as former social responsibility officer for the diocese how alongside the new build there needs to be a support infrastructure of community facilities, shops and schools. I am not sure that side has quite caught up yet.
My first Sunday was in at the deep end with two harvests. Hellingly was packed and we were able to arrange for our boxes of food to go to the local churches run Food Bank in Hailsham, with the prospect of more to come from nursery and schools services.
We have enjoyed two harvest suppers with Upper Dicker combining with a great evening of fun games. At Hellingly we heard of the impressive work among and saddening plight of Syrian refugees by local charity IASIS, a charity frequently supported by the parish church.
With active uniformed organisations in the area, an active choir and lots of events my first task is to simply find out what’s going on and how things work!
We also have a very active wedding ministry with lots of couples attracted to our church. The Church is alive and well in Hellingly and Upper Dicker! In people’s hearts there is still a God shaped bit looking for expression.
So a couple of days after starting I was in the church with a group from a local nursery. A man came in quietly and went to our prayer corner. He lit a candle and sat quietly for a few moments and then left. For a just a brief pause in his busy day he stepped aside to spend a little time with God. If in my time here I can encourage a bit more of that it wouldn’t be a bad thing!