New congregations continue to be organised and welcomed into the diocese in Europe. An example is the congregation which worships in St Pargoire in the Departement of Hérault, in the south of France.
Mr Adrian Mumford, the Diocesan Secretary, and I visited this congregation recently, to encourage them in the next steps towards congregational status in the Diocese. I presided at a Eucharist which was attended by about 50 people, which was followed by a time of discussion and then a splendid supper provided by parishioners, including some excellent wine from the local wine producer!
The emerging congregation’s care has been under the oversight of the Revd Jenny Deverill, priest-in-charge of St Michael’s in the Gard. Although St Michael’s is the nearest congregation, it is about 2 hours journey away. Jenny attended the service which gave parishioners a chance to express their very warm appreciation to her for her pastoral oversight. Two priests with Permission to Officiate, the Revd Roger Smith and the Revd Richard Acworth have been providing services for the congregation to date.
Already there are about 45 people on
the electoral roll and a Constitution is in the final stages of drafting. An
inaugural Annual General Meeting for the parish will be held in January, with
elections of a Church Council, Churchwardens, and 2 representatives to the
Archdeaconry Synod. The new Church Council will then set about the formal task
of appointing their own Priest-in-Charge (there is a candidate already in the
frame) who can be licensed early next year.
|Revd Roger Smith and Revd Richard Acworth|
The congregation has already forged excellent relations with the Eglise Reformée (whose Church we use in St Pargoire), and with the Roman Catholic Church. Outreach work is already begun, supporting the efforts of a local Roman Catholic charity, Restos du Coeur.
The congregation is reflecting on a name for the parish – bearing in mind that the ministry and church life may grow beyond the borders of the small town of St Pargoire in the future.
The church's website is here.