Hello from your new Vicar

Let me introduce myself, my name is the Reverend Mark Phillips and I am your new vicar. I have moved into the vicarage in Mill Lane, Charminster with my wife Clare and our dog George. We are looking forward to getting to know and becoming part of the local communities. Revd Pene wrote in the ‘From the Clergy’ section of last month’s Pilot – ‘if you see a man wearing a dog collar walking a spaniel do say hello and stop for a chat it’s likely to be Mark’ – well, quite a few of you have taken up that suggestion when I’ve been out walking with George, which has been really nice!

Now, do not worry, Revd Pene, Revd Hugh and Revd Rob have not, and will not, disappear because I have started. They remain very valuable members of the clergy team and are helping me to settle in quickly.

In my first six months my aim is not only to get to know and remember everyone’s name in the congregations of St Mary’s Church Charminster and St Michaels Church Stinsford, but also to knock on as many doors as I possibly can in Charminster, Stinsford and Charlton Down, just to say hello. I want to attend as many social events as possible, sample the different bitters offered at the three pubs and visit all the local organisations who wish me to! I have already attended harvest Festivals at St Mary’s School and at the Studio school based at the college and am booked in to visit the WI and the Brownies. I know this will be a challenge for the next six months but I strongly believe that it is important that everybody in a community should have the opportunity to meet their local vicar, and that the local vicar endeavours to get to know as many members of the community as possible. It is traditional that during the service led by the Bishop to welcome the new Vicar into his parishes, the new vicar rings the church bell. How many times they ring it is supposedly how many years they will stay in the parish. At my service on the 3rd October in St Marys apparently I rang it 15 times – so I have plenty of time to get to know you all!

It is my intention to work alongside both St Mary’s and St Michael’s Churches in further developing their already active participation in the community. On the front of the Pilot are Jesus’s two greatest commandments- You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbour as yourself. As Christians we are called to respect, love and serve our neighbour, our neighbour being everyone in our communities, everyone we meet and indeed everyone who lives in this world. As the local churches for your communities we therefore desire to reach out to every one of you in love and service.

One of the ways in which the church serves its community is by praying for those in need, and for the needs of the community as a whole, at our services on Sunday and at our newly introduced morning and evening prayer during the week. If you would like prayers to be said for a particular need please contact Pene or myself. I will also be spending time in both St Michael’s and St Mary’s so do pop in to see me for any reason. Please see details below.

I look forward to meeting you.

Revd Mark