01 April 2019 approaches, the day when Nicholas Mercer will be installed as Rector of Bolton Priory, and the day when these two churchwardens will breathe an enormous sigh of relief. Every interregnum places an extra load on churchwardens, and there have been times when the demands of the Priory have seemed to take over our whole lives. The outset of this particular interregnum was marked by the loss of not only our Rector but also our Curate, and coupled with the prolonged road closure, and Tim Raymond’s enforced absence, it certainly was not an easy start.
Thankfully, though, all that is now past us, and proceedings have got back onto a more even keel. Revd Barry Overend has kept us going through the winter months with his inimitable style and perpetually memorable sermons; we must once again thank him for his great contribution and wish him well as he spends March on a ‘busman’s holiday’, looking after the flock of the Anglican church perched on the cliffside of Taormina in Sicily. We are also grateful to all the other clergy who have filled the gaps in our schedules, enabling us to maintain a full programme of Christmas services, including yet again a very successful Live Nativity. We have been very ably supported by Revd Ruth Harris, our Area Dean, who has always been able to find someone to fill what would otherwise have been a gap in our schedule. Credit also goes to the often unsung heroes and heroines of our volunteer groups, who continued to do what they always do so effectively; we felt it important to mark their special role in the Priory by having representatives of each group give one of the readings in the Festival of Lessons and Carols.
And so we all, not least Revd Nicholas Mercer, look forward to 01 April with a sense of anticipation. We should all bear in mind that the demands on Nicholas in the first few weeks will be extremely heavy. Setting aside the inevitable upheaval that will come with a relocation to North Yorkshire, events will come upon him thick and fast. On the Sunday immediately following his Institution and Induction, he will be chairing the Parish AGM. The following Sunday is Palm Sunday, and Easter Sunday the week after that. His first wedding follows shortly thereafter in early May. The expression ‘Hitting the ground running’ might sound relatively relaxed by comparison! It’s therefore important that we give Nicholas the time and space to find his feet and his bearings, so let’s not burden him with demands for decisions or opinions that could happily wait for a little while. We are sure he’ll want to start by watching and listening to what goes on in the Priory before working out where his own needs and priorities might lie, so in the meantime let’s all carry on doing what we have been doing so ably up until now.
We know you will all want to join us in offering Nicholas our friendship, support and hospitality, so that he’ll soon settle in as part of the Priory Family.
Matt Hey and Paul Middleton, Churchwardens