Across the first weekend of June we hosted eleven visitors from the congregation of Toulouse chaplaincy. We organized things for them to do and see in Andorra during the day o the Saturday and then held a successful fellowship, songs and silly games evening at the Hotel del Bisset where we also ate well from a pot luck supper and drank reasonable wines and soft drinks. On Sunday we held our monthly Holy Communjon service at the top of the Coll d’Ordino with beautiful views from nearly 2,000 metres up and Canon Kieth Hugo celebrating his highest ever communion service. This was followed by a glass of cava and then a picnic lunch. The visitors seem to have returned home happy with the experience of spending a weekend with us in Andorra – while we were very glad of their good company.
The new site format is simply (and boot so simply) an update of the first version of this site on this vehicle – which went live almost four years ago.
What is important is what is behind the site – more controls over access to it. We now have some security software and what is really worrying is that already this has detected one persistent person – somebody using the log in user name of an administrator and trying 18 times to get into the site.
We have nothing on this site of value to a hacker – not even a lot of visitor details. But we have a hacker! Still.
It was back in early March that I was first locked out of ten site when I went to update the events section. It took me almost the rest of the month to discover that the site had been hacked and shut down as a preventative measure by our hosting service.
Then I found that they had also effectively “destroyed” the site and was looking to start again from scratch – but the guy who originally helped set up the site turned out to be running a back up copy and with stoops and starts we where able to get the site back, updated to a newer version of the site software – and now go live.
So – let’s hope for a long life this time round!
Robert Innes was one of the keynote speakers at the Archdeaconry Synod at La Zenia, Alicante this last week. A huge change from Bishop Geoffrey – a “modern man” rather than a traditional figure, a man who has a family, has worked in consulting after leaving university, a man who has recent parish experience in the diocese as the chaplain in Brussels. But on the other hand somebody who has had little contact in the past with our archdeaconry. Approachable, affable and businesslike and looking to set a strategy for the future growth of the diocese which will be presented to the diocesan synod in June. The key will come when we participate in implementation as setting strategies is one thing and actually implementing them much more like hard work!
Revd Keith Hugo will be joining us for three months starting in mid March and will be taking our services in March, April, May and early June. He has sent us the following brief biographical note.
“I’m looking forward to coming and spending three months with you next year.
I grew up in the north of England and, after university and theological college, was ordained there fifty years ago. I then gradually moved south and west, serving in parishes both rural and urban, until I came to a stop on the south coast. My final seventeen years in full-time ministry were in the Dorset coastal town of Weymouth. I managed to fit in some work with the media in the early days of local radio and as Salisbury’s first diocesan communications officer.
In retirement I live in Poole, also a Dorset coastal town. During a year-long interregnum in the local parish I was asked to lead the clergy team. I have done locums for the Church of Ireland at Cork Cathedral and also for a number of chaplaincies in the diocese in Europe.”
Please do plan to come and meet Revd Keith – and do also look at his smiling photo in our “visiting chaplains” page.
Coinciding with then last weekend that Revd Stephen Whaley was with us we had a pastoral visit from the Dean of Gibraltar – which enabled us to have a holy communion service led by Revd Stephen and with a sermon from the Very Revd John Paddock and a very lively bible study with both of them on the Saturday afternoon (in which we had to call “time” after two hours of discussion). John had not realized just how important a role in the diocese is played by the Dean of Gibraltar – who has responsibility stat reach out to every one of the almost 300 chaplaincies that make up the Diocese in Europe. We were certainly privileged to receive this visit – and the Dean and his wife proved to be very entertaining and enlightening guests to have with us.
We had to say goodbye to the Whaley family on Sunday after our fellowship lunch and John was the last to see them as he helped take some of their luggage and Revd Stephen down to the airport in Barcelona (there was just too much to fit into their rental car).
Looking around and back, it is very clear that having a resident chaplain for even just a few weeks made a huge difference – as did having him be here with his family around him. We were able to have weekly events – and to have a chaplain lead us in thought and prayer and praise. The weight was visibly lifted from our churchwarden!
Many thanks to the whole Whaley family for what they brought to us during their stay in Andorra.
Revd Tony Jewiss invited us to come to see “his” church at Alet – formerly Limoux – and we agreed to go for the Holy Communion service on Sunday, May 18.
Six of us set out in three cars with two dogs – and met for a picnic by the little lake near the Col des Sept Frères where we ate well and Pocho (the dog) found and would not be parted from a whole shoulder blade bone from a cow. Leela led us on to Limoux where we parked by the River Aude, saw some nasty things being done by drakes to a duck, walked around the older parts of town and settled down to meet our hosts at the outside seating of the Commerce Bar in the main square. We were each taken off by different hosts to stay with them.
Sunday morning we assembled in Alet for church – right next to then old ruined abbey and in the middle of this lovely little medieval town that now has little apparent life (only one shop you see). The congregation sang well – it would under the leadership of an amateur opera singer – and the service was very satisfactory for all of us.
We proceeded then to have lunch nearby with a total of twenty of us sitting down and enjoying a good friendship lunch.
As we drive home we reflected that this had been a very good holiday with Holy Communion. Worth repeating!
At the annual church meeting on April 20, Valerie stood down after nine long years as churchwarden. Her farewell is set out elegantly in her last report as a churchwarden which is on file on the “annual church meeting” page of this website for downloading – please read the last page of that report in particular.
Valerie was surprised to receive an elegant wine glass engraved with St Goorge’s shield and a very realistic dragon and her name and office and years in office. That just had to be accompanied by a good bottle of read wine – and by two hand blown glasses more suitable for sharing the wine with Bohdan, her husband, than a single engraved glass!
Bob Short is joining us for our March service and, the day before, has agreed to officiate at a wedding blessing to be held in the snow above Soldeu. The happy couple are coming out with their party especially for the snowy ceremony and have invited Bob and his wife to dinner at their hotel and to stay overnight before the ceremony – on condition that there is a rehearsal in the snow of course!
The day of the wedding the sun shone and everything went well – for our first (and to date – as of early 2015) only wedding blessing in the snow.