We were up early this morning for two reasons – firstly Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released, so Beth was waiting for the postman with her copy from Amazon, but secondly because we had to pick up the coach to go to Rev Joan’s licensing as Priest in Charge of St Cadoc’s in Raglan, Wales.
We were by far the youngest people on the coach, however after my busy week I didn’t much fancy the two hour drive to Wales. However it did prove to be quite fun. The first interesting bit aside from the slightly bizarre route the driver chose to get to the M4, was when on arriving in Wales we were pulled over by the Police! It turned out to be part of a regular programme to check the roadworthiness of coaches, so we got an impromptu stop at a service area whilst the inspector went round and checked the tyres, the emergency door and so on. However it didn’t delay us too much, so we arrived at Raglan in time to get drinks at the Vicarage.
The Vicarage is a relatively modern building, arranged with the living rooms on the top floor, and the bedrooms below, to take advantage of the views. Whilst the church itself sits at a main crossroads in the village, the Vicarage is hidden away round the back of some older cottages.
After the drinks, I took a look in the church building, before it filled up with people, and then us together with all the other visitors went to the local hotel, opposite the church for lunch. Lunch was a large hot buffet, and was held in the function room which was swelteringly hot. However it was a good chance to chat to the various people who had come along.
The service itself went pretty well, and the small group from St James Choir who went along to sing got loads of compliments, however I guess it must have been pretty intimidating for the local choir to have us roll up. Bishop Dominic, now Bishop of Monmouth, but who used to be our Bishop in Reading preached a cracking sermon, which pulled no punches at all – he told the congregation that Rev Joan had been employed to grow the church, not to be like a chaplain in a hospice! He also said that they should be willing to put up with new services and forms of worship that they may not like, but that would bring in people from outside.
After the service we had another party, again with more food, before we rolled out to the coach for our trip home.
All in all I think we gave Rev Joan a good send off – hopefully she’ll do well and be very happy in her new parish. We should be able to keep up to date with how things are going though, as Hugh, her husband is carrying on working at his current job around here, so will still be seen around Finchampstead.
There is a selection of the pictures I took during the day in our photo galleries.