June 2022 Letter

Camilla - An appreciation and thanks from friends in the Benefice

It seems like no time at all since Chad endeared himself to us by trotting round the church during the induction service rearranging the kneeler which Camilla was going to use. This incident set the tone for the next four and a half years - it was obvious to us from that early stage that families and children were going to be central to Camilla’s ministry.

And so it proved to be. Camilla did a tremendous job reaching out to families and children in the Benefice with initiatives which were quite new to us.

Family services drew newcomers into the fold - the schools in the Benefice appreciated her gentle way with the children at school assemblies - the Open the Book team, whom she led, had great success introducing young audiences to the stories of the Bible and Teddy church became a firm favourite with parents and children alike.

But Camilla’s work with children and young families was not at the expense of the older members of our congregations. We have been inspired by her deep sense of spirituality and devotion, which she communicated through presiding at the Eucharist and through preaching. She had the knack of knowing just when to leave that moment of silence in a service for deeper reflection and she helped us all to strengthen our faith.

Camilla also showed us the true meaning of Christ’s message of love and compassion for others in the extremely sympathetic way in which she conducted funerals. We have all heard so much feed back praising her preparation, her sympathy and her understanding for those who have been bereaved.

There have been very many happy times too when Camilla presided at weddings and christenings. The couples whom she married and whose children she brought into the church through baptism will carry the memories of her contribution to their special day with them for the rest of their lives. I remember one wedding at Forcett particularly well. The bride was very late, and as she came up the path to the church, rather flustered, Camilla simply smiled at her seraphically, said a few kind words to calm her nerves, and then started the service.

We mustn’t forget that two of the last four and a half years have been in Covid times with all the additional pressures which that entailed. How fortunate we have been to have a vicar who could rise to the technical challenges of Zoom and who has a beautiful voice to lead the singing. Her Zoom Eucharists and Compline services brought spiritual nourishment during lockdown both to regular worshippers and to some who were not regular worshippers. I know that for many they played a really important role in helping them get through the pandemic.

We have all been touched in diļ¬€erent ways by Camilla’s quiet, caring pastoral approach over the last five years. But there is one comment which was made to me which I think sums up why her ministry with us has been so successful. The person said “ The great thing about Camilla is that she reaches out to everyone in the community whether they be churchgoers or not and that is why she is so well loved and respected by everyone ” We can all agree with that.

And now we pray that God will be with Camilla and her family to watch over them, to guide them and to support them as you move on to enjoy writing the next chapter in their lives. Camilla has made a lasting mark on this Benefice and we are immensely grateful to her for her love, her commitment, her self sacrifice and her spirituality.

Thank you Camilla from us all.


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