We held the annual church meeting very early this year – on January 22 to be precise – before lunch at the Valet restaurant in Arinsal and after holy Communion led by Revd Deborah Chapman, who also presided at the meeting.
There was a very positive surprise presented by then Treasurer in his report – we have been then recipient of some very generous donations during 2016 and recorded what (for us) is a substantial annual surplus, sufficient to see us through the coming year or two and ensure that we can fund the new status we will have as a worship centre of St George’s Barcelona.
The first consequence of this status change is that Revd Deborah Chapman as agreed to visit us eight times a year for the next three years and to stay with us for a few extra nights when she comes so that she can get to know people and provide pastoral care to those who may need it.
The second and, from an organisational point of view, the more important consequence, is that Revd John Chapman has formally take responsibility for overusing us as part of his chaplaincy and will himself visit us four times a year.
At the annual church meeting, we thanked Michael Derham for his many years of services as churchwarden, noted that we no longer would have other churchwardens or a church council, noted that John would continue to act as treasurer and administrative liaison, and welcomed our new status with a general feeling of relief and positive motivation for the future.
Brenda and John went to synod for ten last of their three year stint as synod reps and potentially as the last synod reps from Andorra, as we are now organising ourselves as a worship centre of St George’s Barcelona under the guidance of Revd John Chapman, the chaplain there.
John and Revd John met with Bishop David during synod and “cleared” the arrangements that had been approved by both church councils and the annual church meeting in Andorra for this change.
Synod was full of things we need to know and a great opportunity to meet with reps from other chaplaincies and contrast and compare their life with ours. It seems that Andorra actually manages very well compared to chaplaincies used to having a resident chaplain but with a vacancy needing to be filled and that we have a good reputation for looking after visiting chaplains.
We went down from nine reedings to eight and moved the carols around and cut out some verses. As a result, the service ran exactly one hour and seemed to move along better – perhaps because out guest organist, Adrian Leonard, is more used to the pace of hymns and carols than our Andorran guest organist of the last two years. Outside the mulled wine crew of Tom, Jan and George had everything set up with lots of hot wine, and the mince pies were briefly there as well, but seemed to vanish down multiple throats in a very short time. Everybody seemed happy and pleased with the result. We have over e500 from the collection to give to St Luke’s Homecare too.
Leela and Tiffany arrived very early to reserve the only pitch with shade on the whole site – just as well as the day was very hot with the sun burning down from a clear blue sky and no wind. We had a small stall by our standards but sold briskly and raised money for the church general funds. Our thanks to helpers who are not part of our regular congregation as well as to Clare for sorting and transporting everything.
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.
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.
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!