Thank you to everyone at St Barnabas this morning for the lovely welcome, and to Bishop John in licensing me as the priest-in-charge there, in addition to my ongoing role at St Wulstans.
To continue a tradition, we sang Be Thou My Vision at the licensing service. It’s a hymn that I’ve used at every transition in ministry, from leaving my ‘sending parish’, my ordinations, my leavings, and each of my licensings.
I love this collect that comes at the end of Psalm 132 in the Common Worship Daily
Prayer book and invite you all to join with me daily in making this our pilgrim prayer for the journey we are making together:
Jesus, Son of David,
make us a priestly people;
clothe us in righteousness,
make us fruitful,
and give us hearts to shout for joy
in your salvation;
we pray in the power of the Spirit
You might like to read the pastoral letter that I wrote to the St Barnabas with Christ Church congregation when my appointment was announced.
My sense is that St Barnabas was built to be a connecting place, and that is what my emphasis is going to be as we develop our partnerships in the months ahead.
The area was developed in the 1870s to cater for the new workers recruited for the expanding railway, which was to become as important a link to the south and west as Crewe is to the north. The new workers were mainly housed in small terraced homes built outside the city walls, and found their focus in the newly built Parish Church, with its schools and associated organisations. At this time the rest of the parish consisted of open fields and small hamlets, except for a gradual growth of private housing along Astwood Road, all of which were linked by the Church. The population began to grow as successions of estates were built on the open land in the fifty years following the end of the war. As with many cities Worcester has been left the legacy of sub-standard housing erected during the boom years of the Industrial Revolution. The council policy was to clear these slum areas and re-house the residents on the fringe of the city. Brickfields and Tolladine were two of the first wave of new buildings for these former residents of the riverside slums, thus maintaining a sense of community as whole streets moved together into new housing.
From a recent Statement of Significance, courtesy John Dentith