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Vicar's Musings for Ordinary Sunday 24

14 September, 2014

A warm welcome to the family and friends of Harry Royce Wilkison and Jack Richard Wilkison who will be baptised at the 9.30am Family Mass today, and Cecilia Rose Ellyard Thomas and Lucy Margaret Ellyard, who will be baptised at the 11am High Mass.

The Parish Fair was a great success last weekend, and we fundraised around $7,000 after expenses. Carol O'Conner and Coleen Farrell did a fantastic job heading up the Fair Committee, and a long list of parishioners put in hours of work setting up the hall, looking after the various stalls and activities, and then clearing up afterwards. As I said in my sermon last week, it was a truly wonderful gathering of our community, and we estimate that more than 1,500 people came to the fair in all. Thank you to everyone who came!

Last Sunday, at all services, we held a straw poll on the question of ordained women's ministry at St Peter's. This was the final stage in a discernment process that was requested by parishioners at last year's AGM, and actioned by the Parish Council. There were 89 parishioners who voted on the day, with 68 (76%) agreeing that ordained women should celebrate Mass at the altars of St Peter's Eastern Hill, 16 (18%) did not agree, and 5 (6%) ticked neither "yes" or "no". The result of the straw poll correlates fairly closely with the Parish Council report, based on 47 speeches made by parishioners at 7 congregational meetings. Of the speakers 37 people (79%) expressed their support for ordained women's ministry at St Peter's, 7 (15%) were opposed, and 2 (4%) did not express a clear opinion for or against.

So, how do we proceed as a parish on this issue? There is a clear majority of parishioners who want change, but it is important to note that there is also a significant minority opposed to change. My prerogative as Vicar is to make the final decision, but I am also charged with overall responsibility for the pastoral care of our congregation, and it is my hope and my prayer that we can all move into the future together despite our differing opinions. Now the results are in, I will think and pray about the best way forward, and will speak in some detail about this with the Parish Council at our September meeting. Each step of the way I will communicate clearly with all the parishioners, so there will be no surprises.

Thanks to everyone for your patience and support during this busy time. For much of the past month we have been understaffed, with both Fr Samuel and Bp Graeme away, so it is a blessing today to have the full team on board. Our prayers are with Fr Samuel as he prepares to take up the position of Priest-in-Charge at St Andrew's Aberfeldie next month, and to say goodbye to St Peter's on Sunday 28th September. We are also praying for Bp Graeme, whose time as Assisting Bishop in the Diocese has been extended, but who will be visiting us from time to time as his other duties permit.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

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