NEW – Geoff Abasolo-Munnery – New Curate:
I am very pleased to be joining the Ashford Town Benefice as Curate. I am a man of Kent, originally from the Medway Towns (born in Chatham, raised in Gillingham), but in my teenage years my family moved to Kennington, so in a sense, I am returning to familiar territory. Ashford has grown beyond recognition since the 1980s when I last lived here. I am very much looking to the challenge of working as part of the ministry team in serving you and the wider community in a vastly expanding Ashford, with a particular focus on the missionary priority areas that you have been discerning as part of your Mission Action Plan. A little bit about me. I am a former Roman Catholic priest, serving for 12 years in the Archdiocese of Southwark in parish ministry, school, youth and hospital chaplaincies. After I decided to leave the active ministry in the RC Church, I have spent time as a Child Residential Support Worker, as an RE teacher and as a Support Worker in a Low Secure Hospital. But God has a way of persistently knocking on the door, and so two years ago, after deciding to become an Anglican, I applied to become an Ordinand in the Diocese of Canterbury. I am now coming to the end of an intensive 10-month formation pathway with St. Augustine’s College of Theology which has been a time of great blessing despite the endless Zoom lectures. I am a keen football fan, being a supporter of Everton FC, and also follow rugby and cricket. I enjoy reading and travelling, especially back to my beloved Italy, where I have family connections. I will be returning to Ashford, with my wife Theresa and daughter Frida. We are very much looking forward to meeting you all soon.
NEW – Revd Eve Lanchantin-Piggott – Retirement:
Now you see me; now you don’t. One day, I was a permanent fixture on Faversham Road, the next will see me doing a six-month disappearance act, having not-so-delicious cream tea with deer in the King’s Wood. Magic? It sounds like it, but it is just retirement and it happens to the best of us, I am told. However, when it comes after years of ministry, ten in the Eglise réformée de France and eight in the Church of England, not to mention the years of theological study and placements, I suspect it marks a true change of life. That, I can only imagine, as even though my last Sunday, the 27th June 2021, is approaching at a very rapid pace, it seems far away. And it still is a journey into the unknown.
When I first came to Ashford in 2007, the clergy were in the throes of shaping what a town ministry could look like. It is now a functioning reality and my hope and prayer is that it will grow, mature and thrive in witness to the risen and living Christ.
Together with my husband Michael, I would like to thank all those, particularly at St Mary’s Kennington and St Mary the Virgin’s Ashford Town-Centre but also throughout the Parish, who have made our time in Ashford a foretaste of heaven. We will walk away from Ashford, grateful for the opportunity of building God’s kingdom with them here on Earth. Thank you all and may God bless you abundantly.
NEW – News from South East Local Area:
Like the rest of the parish, we are re-opening our building for public worship this Sunday (Easter Sunday). And are very much looking forward to being able to share in the Joy of the Risen Christ with our communities gathered once again. Sadly, restrictions are still in place so please remember social distancing and your masks.
Saint Marys Willesborough Café is looking forward to reopening again on the 17th May 2021 in line with government regulations and as part of the slow but steady journey out of lockdown. We hope to see as many of our customers returning to enjoy a lovely coffee and a piece of cake soon. Along with this our Social Committee has been hard at work planning online socials throughout this past year and has already started planning socials for when we are able to gather socially again safely.
Messy Church is also looking to reopen its doors for a Messy Service in the coming months so keep an eye out for advertising.
As restrictions begin to ease the Ark Castle Youth group will restart meeting in person between Christ Church and Kingsnorth. Details of meeting times and dates will soon be posted on the website for anyone interested – the group is for secondary school age, 11-18 years.
In December Gavin Williams successfully completed the ALM course for Leading Worship. When we are back in the church building we will be able to properly congratulate, commission and pray for Gavin as he takes up this new aspect of his ministry in the parish.
NEW – News from Kingsnorth & Shadoxhurst Local Area:
We held our AGM this month. Caroline announced that she is retiring & her last service will be September 5th. We are grateful for all she and Nigel have brought to the church in the last five years. Sarah Ansell completed her time as Local Warden. She has been a fantastic support over the last year. We are grateful to Rod Gilbert for picking up the mantle. Ellie Rich and Norman Humphries have stood down from the LLT (again, many thanks to both for sterling service) & Jacqui Watson has joined. We also held an online auction which raised about £400 for the ministry of the Parish. We are delighted to return to our buildings on Easter Sunday but will continue to live stream our main services thanks to our dedicated tech team. Ark Ministries are also looking to get started as soon as they are able to do so safely and legally!
Parish Mission Enabler:
As we discern a vision and corresponding priorities for mission in our parish, we are looking for the right person, lay or ordained, to join us on the journey for the next three years as our Parish Mission Enabler.
To do that, we need someone who is:
- versatile, determined and creative in pursuing opportunities for mission
- energised by the challenge of coordinating and equipping people from our diverse congregations to share in God’s mission across our town
- ready to give and receive support as part of a team.
If you know someone who might be suitable, do please encourage them to look at the job information on the Church of England’s ‘Pathways’ website.