At your service, despite ‘clergy shortage’ claim

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The Ouzel Valley Team Ministry insists it has no plans to reduce the number of services at their seven churches, despite a shortage of clergy.

Rev Noel McGeeney wrote in the The Parish Church of St Leonard Heath and Reach magazine that there was a shortage of ministers to cover all existing services within the Ouzel Valley Team Ministry.

He said: “In order to obtain the best coverage, we are considering discontinuing the 8am service at Heath and Reach and bringing back the 11am back to an earlier time, 10.15am or 10.30am depending on timing agreed with Hockliffe and Eggington.”

A meeting was organised on earlier this month to discuss the situation.

Following this, discussions are under way but there are no plans to reduce the number of services taking place each week or to alter their existing pattern.

Leader of the Team Ministry, Rev Grant Fellows, said: “At present we aim to provide no less than 13 services in our various churches every Sunday. We are fortunate in having four full-time priests, a curate in training and ten lay ministers to lead these services and to be involved in the various midweek activities associated with parish life.

“Alongside them, we have also enjoyed the contribution of active retired priests who have provided unstinting service over a number of years. Some of our other colleagues are not as active as they used to be and, in the near future, our curate will be moving on to take responsibility for a parish of his own.

“The team and its clergy and lay people are currently discussing how best we can serve the needs of our parishioners both in church and within the wider community.

“As part of this process we are considering our present service pattern and our current ministerial resources.

“Our aim is to plan positively for the future to meet the needs of our parishioners and to make our churches welcoming and vibrant.”