A note from the Team Rector to all the churches of the Lordsbridge Team, on the occasion of Claire Robertson’s licensing as the new Team Vicar.
This weekend we welcome Revd Claire Robertson to the Lordsbridge Team as a Team Vicar. She will be given her license as an incumbent in the Lordsbridge Team by Bishop Stephen in a service that includes promises, prayers and blessing. Here in Lordsbridge, we work with a model in which each village and parish is clear who its vicar is and each Team Vicar is clear which villages they serve: Claire will be serving the parishes and villages of Barton, Coton, Harlton and Haslingfield. And in most of our places there are also lay ministers, associate clergy, church wardens and other types of volunteers who form a team around the Team Vicar for both mission and ministry there. There is strength in this.
However, we are more than a series of neighbouring geographical parishes: we are a benefice or, as we tend to term it, ‘a team of churches’. Our strength is therefore also in the ability this gives us to work alongside and beyond the inherited parish system. As a team of churches we can share things more easily – this is particularly important both for sustaining our smaller worshipping communities and for the mutual enrichment of bringing together more niche interests and specialist skills. Further, by looking beyond the single parish, we can grow a greater variety of worshipping communities and mission projects – such as our recent team-wide digital ventures, some ‘fresh expressions of church’, perhaps even chaplaincy. Claire joins this area-wide organisation too.
Together we pray to God, who is Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, that in all our places and projects we grow in both faithfulness and creativity, we are able to celebrate both continuity and innovation, and we both tell the ‘old, old story’ and sing a new song.