The biggest change in the parish in 2016 will be the arrival of an Assistant Curate.
Alex Ladds is 43; married to Louise, and with two sons, Isaac aged 15, and Joseph aged 13. Like Louise, he is a teacher at Giggleswick School, having previously served in police Special Branch, and is currently training (alongside his work) on the Lancaster & Carlisle course. Why is he coming here? Because, bravely, he has declared his convictions as a traditionalist before being ordained. This may be another sign of the new and better dispensation, under the Five Guiding Principles, that Alex can realistically expect to be treated more fairly than he would have been only a few years ago.
He will be ordained Deacon on the first Sunday of July. And then begin his ministry here, for a total of four years. Non-stipendiary, he will in effect be part-time part-time. His main work will be as Chaplain to the school. But like every other newly ordained minister, he must ‘serve his title’, to use the technical phrase; and that can only be done in a parish.
So will the parish gain anything? You should not expect to gain anything. The training will be geared to Alex’s needs, not the desire of parishioners. However, the presence of a younger priest, with greater charm, newer ideas, more enthusiasm, and so on, will undoubtedly be a most welcome substitute for an elderly, worn-out rector. So, yes, so long as you are not too demanding, you should gain a great deal from helping with the training of one of Christ’s ministers.
Paul Christodoulou, as Reader, will continue his ministry as now. And will not be superseded by Alex. Paul, of course, is unpaid and under no contractual obligation. He and Sharon could move away whenever they want, but as a layman he has a permanence in the parish, that no clergy can formally offer. Continue to rely on your Reader.
What will we offer as a parish? Within its traditional and rural context, we have an unusually broad range of services. A particularly good number of weddings, an adequate number of baptisms, but only a few funerals. One primary school and one nursing home – a bit thin, but something. Beyond that? Well, that’s Fr Nicholas’ problem; but he goes on a training course next May, to be trained how to train. And then there will be the standard round of church council meetings, clergy chapter, deanery synod. As well as the required study and training courses. A busy enough life.
So, be encouraged: it is an exciting prospect. If you are not too demanding, there will be much to be gained. And do pray for Alex, as he finishes his training, and prepares for his time here.