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Vicar's Musings for Ordinary Sunday 24

14 September, 2014

Today's musings are based on the Vicar's report and subsequent discussion at the September meeting of the Parish Council. Extracts from the Vicar's report are published each month in the pew sheet in order to aid communication and transparency of decision-making within the Parish. Parishioners are welcome to talk with Fr Hugh or Parish Council members about these and any other matters.

Staffing. We are currently in a place of flux and transition in the parish. Bp Graeme's six-week stint assisting our regional bishop has been so successful that the Diocese now wants to employ him until the middle of next year. We will see Bp Graeme only from time to time between now and Pentecost. Today is Fr Samuel's last Sunday as Assistant Curate at St Peter's. We will miss him, but are delighted that he has been appointed as Priest-in-Charge of St Andrew's, Aberfeldie. Fr Samuel starts in the parish next month, and his service of Induction will take place at St Andrew's on Thursday 13th November at 7pm. We will not be replacing Fr Samuel, for the time being, and are presently looking for a part-time Assisting Priest rather than another full-time Curate.

Ordained Women's Ministry. A recent straw poll indicated that a clear majority (76%) of the parish would like to see ordained women exercise sacramental ministry at the altars of St Peter's Eastern Hill. It is important to note also that a significant minority (18%) expressed their opposition to such a move. After careful and prayerful consideration, I have decided that it is time to change our current practice of having only male priests celebrate the Mass. Given the number of parishioners who will not be happy with such a decision, however, I need to emphasise that any change will be slow and made in a pastorally sensitive manner. It may be, for example, that over the coming year one of Australia's female bishops will be invited to preside as well as preach at St Peter's. I may also invite a female priest to join our regular concelebrants at the Maundy Thursday Mass. If and when any such change takes place, please be assured that it will be clearly communicated well in advance.

Stewardship Month. The Giving Envelopes are at the back of church to pick up today. If you don't have a set of envelopes, but would like one, please let us know. Thanks to everyone who has filled in and returned their "Time" and "Money" pledge forms, from the back of this year's St Peter's Planned Giving brochure; it helps us greatly with our planning. If you have not yet received a brochure, there are plenty of spare copies at the back of church. As you can see in the Treasurer's report in the brochure, the parish has kept closely to the budget passed at last year's AGM, but this has involved a significant deficit. In preparing the 2014/15 budget, the Parish Council are looking seriously at how to reduce this deficit. This will involve some cuts to parish expenses, as well as exploring ways to increase our income and better utilise our assets. There will be a major agenda item on this topic at the AGM in November, so do share your thoughts and ideas with the Parish Council.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

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