Vicar's Letter

‘From the Vicarage’ July 2023

Do you have favourite words? Habitual phrases that come out of your mouth unconsciously? If we stop to reflect for a minute, I think we all do. One of the youth workers I had the pleasure of working with in Devizes had a tendency to preface every sentence with the word ‘basically.’ “Basically Andy…” One of my dear old veterinary colleagues would reflect on any difficult situation or a nightmare scenario with the time-honoured phrases ‘these things happen’ or ‘never mind.’ “Your leg has dropped off again, oh well, never mind…”

I was reading recently that adding “so” to the beginning of a sentence is thought to be one of the most annoying literary and linguistic habits. So, I am one of the most frequent flyers in this regard! Another of my habits is using the word narrative. The existing narrative, the narrative of this place, the continuing narrative, the Gospel narrative.

The narrative of St Mary’s Parish Church seems a good place to finish my last article for the Parish Magazine, because it has been a privilege to be part of your narrative, and the narrative of this church and community for the last four years. This season of our lives has been a story like no other with the global pandemic and everything that took out and brought into our lives. I still remember all too well the sense of responsibility and sadness I felt as I locked the door of the church, and the nervousness of streaming the first Sunday service from our dining room, praying that Facebook would work. Yet the story evolved, and we worshipped, prayed, and supported each other through an era like no other. I will always be proud of the way you all, as a community, pulled together and loved each other.

Now the story changes, and a new season begins, both during the vacancy and when a new incumbent appears to lead you into the future. No doubt there will be times in the vacancy ahead that will feel strange and different, but within all that, I think it is reassuring to remember that the narrative of St Mary’s Parish Church has flowed for 125 years and will continue to flow into the future. The story of this church will continue because it is a story rooted in God’s love, and the promise of the Gospel is that God’s love is an unchanging and eternal narrative. Times change, of course they do that is the nature of life’s journey, but the story of God’s love never does. So (!!), be confident, be kind, love God, love West Moors and love each other, and all will be well.

Most of all, thank you for allowing Becky, Isla, and myself to be part of your story for these last four years. Keep in touch and let us know how you are. We will miss you all.

With love and prayers

God Bless


The Revd Andy Muckle

From_the_Vicarage_July_2023, PDF