Warden's Watch

Wardens’ Watch by David Whyman  (April)

“The end is nigh!” so called the soothsayers.  No, I’m not referring to the end of all time, I will leave others better qualified than me to predict such things, but rather to the appointment of our new vicar.  For many reasons, names have had to be kept under wraps to protect clergy and their parishes.  We are delighted to now be able to formally announce our new vicar will be Revd. Craig Groocock, currently vicar at All Saints Harbury and All Saints Ladbroke.  Throughout the past months so many people have been praying that the right person for our Parish would be led by God to come to lead and guide us deeper in our faith.  I am quite sure Revd. Craig will challenge us in many ways  - spiritually, physically and mentally as we move forward in faith together.  It has now been confirmed that the  Collation, Induction and Installation service will be on Wednesday 26th June, 2019 at 7-30pm at  Shottery Church led by Bishop Christopher and Archdeacon Sue Field.  In preparation for that date there will be so much happening to ensure the service is duly prepared and co-ordinated so as to ensure our Church and Welcome Area is “spick and span” and that the Vicarage is ready to welcome Craig, Su and Gus their Labrador.  Elsewhere in this magazine you will see an article from Craig and Su telling us more about their lives, hobbies and interests – all good reading !

May I ask you to please pray for Craig and Su as they prepare to leave their current home and Parish of 11 years.  Pray for those congregations and friendships they are leaving behind and we can only imagine how disappointed they might be feeling. 

We look forward with joy to a new and challenging ministry with Craig, blessed and directed by the God we worship and love.

May God bless you each one.

David Whyman




Warden's watch with BOB MACVIE

Warden’s Watch with Bob Macvie

By the time you read this the news will be out!  You will know who our next incumbent is.  However, as I write this I am still bound by the Official Secrets Act (well that’s what it seems like) so can’t reveal his/her name or else I might find myself cast into the dungeons of Coventry Cathedral and stripped of my rank!  However, how wonderful that our interregnum is nearing an end. 

Meeting our three candidates and their partners was a most interesting and pleasant experience as all of them were lovely folk!  On the Monday lunchtime they arrived at St. Andrew’s to meet a medley of local people including Rev. Richard Williams from Alveston, our head teacher, our musical directors and office secretary, local councillors, Mark and Zoe from The Bell and some members of the Standing Committee.  While we ate a superb buffet lunch (thanks to all concerned), it gave everyone an opportunity to meet and chat with all the candidates.  Afterwards one couple came with David Whyman and me for a tour of the parish, including a circular walk; one couple were given a chance to see around the Vicarage with Hilary Capron while the other couple were shown around church by David Challis.  Then it was all change.

In the evening the candidates returned to meet all the members of the PCC while more food was consumed.  Rev. Patrick Taylor, the Rural Dean, joined us.  It was a good night and the candidates were made to feel very much at home.  After what must have been quite an exhausting day the candidates left, while the rest of us  secretly recorded scores based on our feelings.

The next day the formal interviews were held in the choir vestry.  David Millington, Orian Johnson and Vanessa Gravestock represented our parish while Assistant Archdeacon Clive Hogger and Rev. Patrick Taylor made up the interviewing team.  Each candidate had to give a 10 minute homily on the liturgy of the day before being asked questions relating to the ‘8 Essential Qualities.’  I do know that all the candidates impressed and that it took the interviewees quite a while before they made their final decision.

What I can say is that all the candidates and their partners expressed how friendly and welcoming they had found the folk from Shottery.  We wish those who weren’t successful every blessing in their future work and careers while, for The Chosen One, may he/she follow in the long line of wonderful vicars we have had here at St. Andrew’s and be guided and led by God to bear much fruit in their ministry with us!

Yours in Christ. Bob Macvie



Wardens’ Watch with DAVID WHYMAN

As I write this piece for our magazine, it is just New Year – the Christmas celebrations are over, the Nativity figures carefully packed away in their box for another year – this year, 2019 !  What will we make of the New Year ?  What will it bring ?  For many it will bring routine – going to work, doing the garden, walking the dog, visiting friends, maybe a holiday.  For some it may bring absolute joy with a new birth, or a marriage.  For others maybe sadness with the death of a loved one, or financial difficulties or general health problems.  The thing is we don’t know really what the New Year will bring – but for us at Shottery we do know that we are eagerly anticipating possibilities of a new vicar.  The Profile has been written, the post has been advertised and now we await applicants !  The PCC are busy planning the Introductory day when applicants are shown around the Parish and also preparing for the Interview process.  This is all very time consuming for those involved and we wish them God’s blessings and discernment throughout the whole process.  May we, each one pray diligently that the right person be found to come and live among us to spread the “Good News” of Jesus throughout this area.  This, of course, also gives us responsibilities, of our time, energy, intellect and maybe even our money.  We need to make all newcomers welcome and we are very good at that, but we also need to be amenable to change.  In some ways we are a very comfortable, contented group, where each week we meet our friends and chat and enjoy the services, but is this really all that Jesus asks of us ?  The Diocesan phrase “Passionate Spirituality” comes to mind and Jesus asked us not to be content but to go out and spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by our lifestyle, encouraging others, neighbours and friends to join us in worship and praise to our God.

Each of us has that God given gift of prayer, whether old or young, busy or with time to spare, homebound or active, with money in our bank account or poor – we all can pray.  I ask you to pray with passion for our friends and

neighbours and like my Grandma once quoted, “Pray them into the kingdom”. 

It is not too late to start New Year resolutions – how about making a commitment to God to read our Bible each day and through that deepen and enrich our faith in Jesus Christ with joy, fervour and excitement.

May God bless you as we journey together into the unknown throughout the year but with the assurance of God’s love and grace at all times.



WARDEN’S WATCH with Bob Macvie


At long last the wheels are in motion regarding a new vicar for St. Andrew’s!  At the last PCC meeting the Parish Profile was accepted and is now in the hands of Archdeacon Morris Rodham.  It now awaits an introduction from the Bishop of Coventry and it will be ready.  My thanks to all who have contributed to it in any way.

The advert for our new vicar will shortly be going into the Church Times.  The proposed date for interviews is 5th February 2019.  However, I wouldn’t like to predict when the ‘chosen one’ will finally be among us!

In the meantime the interregnum continues into the very busy seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. For our retired clergy, Readers and choir there will be additional pressures and time commitments so bless you all for the extra efforts you will put in.  We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the ‘traditional’ services such as the Advent Carol service but also at different venues such as The Squirrel in Bishopton and at           Morrison’s. These are wonderful opportunities to ‘show our faces’ and to proclaim our faith to the outside world. Let us show people through our singing what the meaning of Christmas really is!

It is so important at this time that momentum does not falter and apathy set in.  In recent weeks, for whatever reason, we have seen numbers drop at our main 10 am Service. Maybe it’s down to ill health, folks off on holidays or other factors but please remember that everyone one of you matters to us and your absence is  honestly felt!  Now while ‘bums on seats’ isn’t the be all and end all, inevitably a full, vibrant church is much more uplifting for everyone and so much more inviting for visitors and newcomers. My prayer and my plea, therefore, is for everyone who regards St. Andrew’s as ‘their’ church, to support it as much as possible and as regularly as possible. As St. Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 3: 16, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Your Church needs you!



Wardens’ Watch

Is it really a whole month since our last Wardens’ Watch ? In looking back through my diary , I am really amazed just how much has been happening at Shottery during these last few weeks.

We were very privileged to be visited by Bishop Christopher when he preached to us and Celebrated the Eucharist at our 10-00am service.  It was good to see so many of you in the congregation who were able to be there.  Our appreciation also to Revd. Mary who led our worship on that occasion and for all the extra preparation involved.

In total contrast, and a demonstration of our versatility, on the evening  prior to the Bishop’s visit, we had an evening of “Mirth, Merriment and General Silliness” – the latter being most certainly true!  What fun we had with beautiful music and singing, enjoyable sketches….and some most awful jokes!  John, as always, you did an excellent job in bringing this whole thing about and with your “oh so smooth” charm, encouraging us not only to take part, but for so many to be persuaded to buy tickets!  A really enjoyable evening and thank you to everyone.

Our Church was resplendent with breathtaking, floral  arrangements for our Harvest Services.  From the beautifully decorated West door arch as one came  into Church; arrangements at the Altar and the Font and in the new part of the building, flowers everywhere, even on hoops hanging from the ceiling.  Our thanks to all of the flower arrangers who really excelled themselves.      Revd. Patrick Taylor, our Area Dean, led our worship at the 10-00am service, holding our attention as various “likes and dislikes” were brought out of his picnic basket – bananas versus Marmite and many others!  A truly memorable service.  Thank you all for your generosity in giving produce, food and necessary toiletries all of which have been taken to Stratford Food Bank to help those individuals and families in need of our support.  May both those receiving and the “givers” feel God’s blessings at this time.

The joy of the Harvest Service was followed by a delicious chicken meal.  To Nic, Brenda and the whole team thank you so much, your excellent team work resulted in a magnificent meal enjoyed by us all.  Last month, Bob referred to the 8 Quality Areas of a Growing Healthy Church and the survey we undertook some 18 months ago – these celebrations are all clear      indications of our “Loving Relationships” and most certainly would not be possible without our excellent “Effective Structures”.

On a different note, a Quiet Day was held for our Church at Charlecote Vicarage led by Revd. Rachel Saum.  The Day offered a depth of peace and spirituality, when in the stillness of a beautiful home and garden individuals have been enriched in their focus on God.  If you missed the opportunity at the last Quiet Day, there is another Day planned for 8th December, 2018.  For details see the notice in the Welcome Area or speak with Revd. Joan    Whyman.

We also look forward to a reflective Wholeness and Healing Service towards the end of October in the evening.  We ask God’s blessing on those in need and upon their loved ones.

November is also a time of looking forward as we approach Advent and the coming of Christmas.  Joan’s Advent Booklets will soon be available to help us in our daily readings and meditations as we prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus Christ.  Along with those celebrations we have the Christmas Fair on 24th November when many Christmas items may be bought and of course our Patron St. Andrew’s Day celebrations on 30th November with our traditional “Piping in the Haggis” at our Supper, following our 6-30pm  Communion Service.

Such a lot has happened and we look forward to so much more.  Yes, we are continuing with our Interregnum, the PCC are still working together with Archdeacon Morris on our Church Profile which we feel is almost complete apart from photographs of the various activities.  This then has to be approved by a full meeting of the PCC before publication.

Our thanks again to “Team Shottery” for not only keeping the ship afloat but making good headway towards Christmas and the future of our Church.

May God bless you richly,

Best wishes,

David Whyman      Churchwarden            


Warden’s Watch

In the last edition of Searchlight David briefly outlined what the Church Profile is – “a document setting out our position as a church now and how we see the future with a new vicar.”  So I thought it might be quite interesting for those who are “not in the know” to explain a bit more about it, especially as I’ve been involved with writing it!

Basically it’s a job description and a half!  It begins with introductions by the Bishop of Coventry and the Rural Dean (Patrick Taylor) and some background information about St. Andrew’s and the type of church we are.  It then goes on to state what the job entails and the type of character we would ideally like to appoint who will reinvigorate the church and ‘take us to the next level’ – a bit like appointing a new manager at a football club!  Let’s just hope he/she lasts a bit longer than the average football manager!

Of course, each one of us will have our own ideas about what the next vicar needs to do.  Fortunately, St. Andrew’s is in a stronger position than most churches in 2018 in many respects but there is no getting away from it that our congregation is ageing and slowly reducing as older folk “pop their clogs”.  There is a generation (maybe two) missing who we urgently need to reach out to and welcome into our fellowship.  What will attract them to St. Andrew’s? Certain things may need to change and we will need to adapt.  Are we prepared to do that?

The next part of the Profile asks us to consider The Diocesan Mission Purpose:                     Worshipping God, Making New Disciples and Transforming  Communities. How well are we doing these things? How can we do them better?  What needs to change?

The next part of the profile concentrates on examining how St. Andrew’s features in regard to the 8 Quality Areas of Growing Healthy Churches.  Do you remember the questionnaire many of us filled out in 2016? St. Andrew’s

actually scored very highly, with our strongest quality being our “Loving            Relationships” and our supposedly weakest quality being “Passionate Spirituality”.  In the last two years James, with the help of others, did much to address the latter.  Just think of ‘Forgiven at the Cross’, the amazing play Sarah Cushing directed!

It was most interesting to examine in depth some of these quality areas and I’ll mention just two that particularly caught my eye. “Need Orientated Outreach” refers to all the ways in which members of St. Andrew’s engage with folk, showing love and concern for others. How wonderful that so many of you give up your time and use your ‘talents’ to help others in our community and beyond working with charities, organisations and individuals, e.g. Lunch Club.  This really is “faith in action” which is just what Christ demanded!

Another area that stood out to me is “Effective Structures”. St. Andrew’s works so well because these structures are all in place – we have our bereavement visitors, baptism visitors, flower arranging group, fabric  committee, finance committee, fundraising committee, catering team and several others.  Any new vicar coming to St. Andrew’s will be very grateful that all this exists and is well established.

Once the Profile has been sent to Archdeacon Morris Rodham and he finally approves it, our search for a new vicar will start in earnest because then the post can be advertised nationally.  It’s a lengthy and quite complicated process but we’re on the right road!

In the meantime let’s continue to pull together and remain steadfast – attending St. Andrew’s as regularly as we can, to worship and thank God as He deserves and seeking to serve others wherever we can.

Yours in Christ,

Bob Macvie



September -

Warden's Watch

It is quite amazing how "Team Shottery" comes into action in the time of need.  Bob and I are most grateful to those many people who have been prepared to use their many skills and talents during this time of interregnum.  For me, it couldn't have come at a worse time having booked many months ago to have a long holiday to Austria.  My humble thanks to Bob, David and Jackie especially, but really the whole team, who covered for me in so many ways - and I still feel very guilty !

One of our first tasks, following an instruction from the Diocese was for the Vicarage to be "Let" on an initial six month arrangement.   This may sound relatively simple, but as with anything related to property, involved a survey by David Challis and me to assess the state of the property.  I must say that James and Jill left everywhere immaculately clean and we are most grateful for that.  The Diocese had to arrange a Letting Agent who in turn had to  survey the property for rental valuation etc. and all these things take time.  Recently a new telephone system linking the Church and the Vicarage had been installed and this had to be disconnected from the Vicarage.  Postage - for many years all post has been delivered to the Vicarage which seemed quite an obvious solution.  However, new tenants would not want the    inconvenience of having our post, so another post box had to be arranged with negotiation with the Post Office Delivery Service.  Each thing relatively minor, but together amounting to considerable time and effort.

We had a meeting with Archdeacon Pastor Sue Field on Monday 2nd July, who spoke to us about,  “Running the Parish in Interregnum”.  She gave us  thoughts and information on topics such as it being a creative time and also ran over the practicalities of Baptisms, Home Communions, Funerals, the keeping of necessary Registers, links with the Shottery School, the Vicarage and those thousand and one duties which we are already covering.  But she did offer to come and lead worship and preach and we appreciated that.  We have to remember that we are not a “normal parish” because we are so fortunate in having a number of retired clergy, two Readers as well as other licenced people who are willing to step in to lead worship, preach and celebrate the Eucharist when needed – a situation found in few churches. 

A week later we had a visit from Archdeacon Morris Rodham with the purpose of talking through the whole process of appointing a new vicar.  Morris gave us a whole evening in which he explained in detail the series of tasks we need to cover, the most major of which is the construction of the Church Profile – a document setting out our position as a church now and how we see the future with a new vicar.  Many questions were asked and Morris  gave us well informed answers.

Whilst the PCC are considering and putting together the Profile and attending to all the normal needs of our Church we are most grateful to those  people who have taken on extra responsibilities so that our Church continues to function smoothly.  I must make special reference to the whole team of people who are covering our worship and putting in considerable time and effort to deliver our services.  Thank you each one and may God bless you richly in this ministry.

Thank you everyone for the way in which you are supporting our PCC at this busy time.  If however you notice an oversight, please mention it to either the Churchwardens or a PCC member and we will do our best to put things right.

May God bless you each one and do please continue to use our Prayer Card each day in your daily devotions.

David Whyman


JulyAugust - Clodagh in her wisdom, bless her, thought it a good idea during the interregnum for David and I as wardens to keep you all up to date with the latest news and developments from St. Andrew’s, so who am I to argue!

I’d like to start by thanking so many of you in ‘Team Shottery’ for pulling together to help out in so many ways; to our retired clergy, David, Joan and Mary, our readers Jan and Sarah, for being willing to commit themselves to taking far more services than they usually would; to David Challis and Jackie Daniels, our churchwarden’s emeriti, for agreeing to join David and myself in carrying out duties and tasks; to Margaret in the office, who has the thankless task of trying to find priests to cover those services where we have no-one able to lead; and to all of you (too many to name) who are doing that little bit extra to make sure the good ship St. Andrew’s sails as smoothly as possible.  The support of all members of the church family is particularly important at this time so can I urge all of you to faithfully attend as regularly as you can.

I hope as many of you as possible will come along to the meeting in church with the Archdeacon on Monday 9th July, to hear about the process of  appointing a new incumbent and where you will have the opportunity to ask questions.  Unlike most jobs, the Church of England does not have a candidate ready and waiting in the wings to take over as vicar!  In fact it is thought to be beneficial for parishes to have to operate on their own for a while.

At PCC this month the important question was raised about the availability of a priest in an emergency when the Parish Office is closed.  To this end I am delighted to announce that both David Capron and Mary Crameri have kindly agreed to allow their telephone numbers to be included on the back page of Searchlight and on the answering machine.  Many thanks!

Finally, it seems likely that the Vicarage will soon be occupied again – not by clergy but by tenants, as the Diocese is keen to let it to raise income.  It will also be useful to keep the house warm in winter and well looked after.                    Bob Macvie



Webpage icon Interregnum