In about a year and a half St John’s will have its first vacancy in over 30 years. This is not quite a record in the Diocese— but it is definitely up there. Clergy vacancies can be about nine months long and we do not have any LLMs (Lay Readers) or SSMs (Self Supporting Ministers) here at St John’s.

What we do have is a congregation with many members who are more than capable of leading our worship on Sunday mornings, both in terms of leading and preaching. Raymond’s big task next year will be to prepare the church for his departure. And just to prove that we have already made a start, Lesley will be leading the service this morning at 9am and Bill will lead the 11am service for the first time.

Bill has agreed to preach in a new series in the New Year. Others in the church who will be able to follow this lead and preach for the first time. Let’s not just think of men!

Our diocese knows that an over-long vacancy is not a good thing. On the other hand, many people have discovered latent spiritual gifts for the first time when there has been no vicar in post. They have gone on to use them in the future to build up the church. My prayer is that we will be hearing from some of those people in 2022.