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September 2019

This month’s letter comes from Victoria Chester

‘Tis the season . . .

Having been a Reader (a lay minister) in our parishes for a number of years I am about to take the plunge into ordained ministry – or as a friend of mine puts it ‘getting collared’!  As the year turns from summer to autumn I will be ordained in Exeter Cathedral on the 14th of September and then serve as a self-supporting curate in our Mission Community parishes of Colyton with Colyford, Branscombe, Southleigh, Musbury and Northleigh.

Although the days may still be warm, there’s no doubt that September marks a turning of the seasons for many of us, from holidays to the start of the new school year for some and the return to work for others.  The same is true for our religious festivals, those times in the Church year that recall special moments in the life of Christ and in the life of the Church.  Some of the most familiar festivals and seasons seem to come round with startling speed – can it really only be just over 100 days to Christmas?!

Here in our Exeter diocese July marks a special time commemorating St Peter and Christ’s call to him to be “a rock” on which the Church would grow.  Whether or not these were the exact words used it is always an important anniversary in the life of any community when we remember the foundations we are built upon.  Church, village and family all have roots that remind us of our beginnings, where we have come from, and where and with whom we hope to grow in the future. 

For Exeter Cathedral, Petertide, the season of St Peter, has particular significance as the Cathedral building itself is dedicated to St Peter and each year the community there uses this as a focus for special celebrations.  This significance also carries through into other seasons in the life of our diocese.  Ordinations in the Church of England usually take place at Petertide, but here in Exeter we wait until Michaelmas, mid-September, for the service at the Cathedral that marks the start of our new ministry.  I for one am grateful for this later season and celebration; just as the disciples waited in Jerusalem before starting their ministry so the period between the end of my study course at Petertide and my ordination at Michaelmas has given me much needed time to rest, to give thanks for the care and support that has given me the foundation from which to take this new step, and to look forward with joy to the journey to come.

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