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I begin 2013 as always looking back – I’ve now been parish priest of the two Anglican parishes of Middleton for nearly 5 years and hope soon to be the first ever Vicar of Middleton when we unite St Cross and St Mary’s. I hope this will coincide with our AGM this year in Spring- and maybe we might even have St Mary’s internal restoration and re-decoration if not completed well underway!! Hope is what should characterize the Christian life!! For the readers of the magazine who haven’t heard this just means we are uniting St Mary’s and St Cross legally- we will still have two parish churches (St Cross and St Mary’s) but be officially one parish – with one Vicar. This is probably only of concern to very churchy people, but you might be interested to know the difference between the terms that we use for ministers in our church. James and Paul and me are all ordained priests – part of the threefold order of ordained ministry affirmed by the Church of England from its inception in the Book of Common Prayer (the other two orders being that of Deacon and Bishop). At the time of writing, although everyone uses this term in ordinary language, I am not the Vicar – nor is anyone else of our two parishes. I am the priest in charge of St Cross and St Mary’s. “Vicar” is a title given to a priest who then is appointed to a specific permanent role of leadership, authority and ministry in respect of a particular parish. Adidas Yeezy Pas Cher Femme It’s a bit hard to get your head round but you might say “priest” is what I am , whilst “Vicar” is a job description. It’s a fine distinction but an important one. When I or any other priest becomes “Vicar of Middleton” this will mean that person will have a special responsibility and authority, under the Bishop of the Diocese, for the leadership, and care of the churches and people of Middleton written into her or his very job description, as it were. It is not really important what us ministers are called, but it is important what we do as a result of being appointed to these roles by our Bishop who has the authority of Christ himself through his (and hopefully soon her!) status as successor of the very first apostles. I’m looking forward so very much to this coming year – the title I hope to assume isn’t about status it’s more about the sign God is giving to Middleton by appointing a Vicar for the new parish. I don’t know how it will work out in detail, but for me the role will all be about becoming a focus of hope for our community. It will be about the Vicar heading a team of people all united around our two buildings as followers of Jesus wanting to follow Christ in servant love. Yeezy Boost 350 Femme Pas Cher For the Vicar the role starts at the communion table, at our weddings funerals and baptisms – but includes every Sunday churchgoer; every person who works for and attends our St Mary’s social club; our team who send boxes of “morale” to Afghanistan, everything that happens in our schools and Middleton elderly aid; everything which happens in our care homes; at our coffee mornings, fairs and prize bingos; at our youth club and more widely everything we do together with our Churches Together in Middleton & Belle Isle to be beacons of light and service in our locality. We enter the year with so much anxiety for our community – the bedroom tax threatens to create anxiety and serious difficulties for many members of our community; the Welfare Reform Act marginalizes and creates havoc in the lives of many disabled, elderly and sick embers’ of our community. Our young people face a year ahead when it will be harder than ever to get jobs or further educational opportunities. I also expect the climate not to get any better owing to our bad stewardship of our environment – an issue we are going to focus on in prayer at our Churches Together Unity Service on the 20th January. It’s a tough job!…. but somebody has got to do it. Finally, finally..