As indicated in recent editions of this magazine, the clergy allocation across our twenty-two church team (of which our churches are five) has now been agreed – and, as expected, there are implications for us here in CHEQS.

With the reduction in our Team Vicar establishment from seven to six, I’ve agreed to take on three further churches for the time being at least – Kempsford, Whelford and Castle Eaton. This will happen in early June, following Jean Brown’s retire- ment at Pentecost.

After three months of my being responsible for eight churches (with the able assistance of Lynn Hayler, an experienced curate in our Team), I shall from the beginning of September share the oversight of the CHEQS churches with Andrew Cinnamond, who will also continue with his existing ministry in Lechlade church. So from that point CHEQS will have two Team Vicars, myself and Andrew – responsible for the western (CHQ) and eastern (ES) halves of the group respectively.

The whole thing will be more-or-less invisible to the naked eye. CHEQS will continue to function as a group much as it does now, for example with this excellent magazine – and the individual parishes, with their worship preferences and patterns, can continue unchanged. Most of what I currently do in Eastleach and Southrop will be done by Andrew, or by other ministers from Lechlade ... but that should be no disadvantage. Indeed it should actually improve one or two things (for example the connections between E & S children & teenagers with the excellent youth provision that Lechlade church is able to offer).

I have a very high regard for Andrew as a pastor and preacher, and am entirely confident that he will be able to help our parishes develop as effective Christian communities in the years ahead. I shall still be here of course, and as I work alongside Andrew I look forward to keeping in touch, one way or the other, with all of you into the future.

Easter is a time of new life and new beginnings. We look forward to that being apparent in the next phase of our life as churches in CHEQS.

John Partington