Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Greetings to you all this hot and sunny August. It seems that we have arrived in the midst of a global heat wave, but no matter, we are extremely thrilled to be with you after many months of preparations, moving and living out of suitcases. The apartment was finally completed and we have been here exactly a week in the Chaplaincy as I write to you in August.
Of course, being the summer, many of you will be away and so we will not have met you.
As the weeks pass by please introduce yourselves to Jacqueline and myself. It will be good
to get to know you all.
For those of you who do not know us it's probably a good idea to introduce ourselves to you first. We are a family of six. We have four children, two who live in the Brighton and Hove area, Laura who is an actor but is now working as a pastoral assistant at All Saints, Hove and James who after studying theology at Oxford, now works in IT for the Pensions regulator. Flossy lives in New Zealand, currently working in admin in the health service and Benjamin who will be living with us here in Monaco. He is our youngest and has just finished his 'A' levels in England and is awaiting his results. Strangely enough we were here in Monaco doing a holiday locum when he received his GCSE results as well! Benjamin was a music scholar at Sherborne School and former Head Chorister at Westminster Abbey. He is intending taking a year out and then aiming to study Italian and Spanish next year at University...!
Jacqueline has spent most of her working life in Careers and University Guidance Counselling. She was Head of Gloucester University Careers Management department and has many years of expertise that she brought to Italy and the International School of Florence when we lived there for ten years. After we returned to the UK from Italy she retrained as a Bowen Therapist after taking another 'A' level in Anatomy and Physiology!
Next year I will celebrate 30 years being ordained a priest. I was ordained in Gloucester Cathedral and served in that Diocese until moving abroad. During this time we have lived in many different places and served communities in as many contrasting places as you can imagine. We have known Monaco for many years when we were living in Florence when we made several visits here, so the Church is familiar to us.
Our first priority over the summer and coming months is a very simple one. To get to know you, the community, and spend some time praying together and discerning how and where the Spirit will take us all. It is an exciting time as our new ministry together develops.
We wish you all a good summer break and a huge 'Thank you' to all those who have welcomed us here and made us feel at home...
Finally...we have 'Fern', our border collie...who is coping remarkably well with the heat and welcomes anyone who would like to take her for a walk...
Blessings to you all.