Welcome to the 5th edition of the new CHEQS Magazine! It’s now changed from being a church parish magazine, to a community magazine – supported by representatives of the five village communities, Coln St Aldwyns, Hatherop, Quenington, Eastleach and Southrop. To reflect that change, you’ll notice a few differences. Instead of having the vicar’s letter, we’ll be inviting a different person each month to write a short piece.
Hello from…… Simon & Clare Brignall
Coming to live and work in the South Cotswolds Team Ministry area and to serve the parish of Coln St. Aldwyns, Hatherop & Quenington has been a real home-coming.
Clare’s childhood home is Ampney St Peter and we were married in St Mary’s, Fairford. Over the years I have probably preached and led worship in most of the churches of the Team, especially during our home leave from Peru and latterly Chile.
South America has played a big part in our lives. Weworked in beautiful Arequipa, Peru, with the people of the pueblos jóvenes or young towns that sprawled out from the old colonial city to the foot of Misti, the snow-capped volcanic backdrop of the city.
Back in the UK, we swapped city life for rural ministry on the edge of the Chilterns working in the Oxford diocese, and latterly with the Salisbury diocese near Sherbourne in Dorset. Living and working with small communities, we’ve discovered how creative village life is and how resilient the rural church is, despite forecasts of its imminent demise!
Our next location was Chile, and the experience of city life in the big seaport of Valparaiso, where I served as the first Rector of the newly consecrated Cathedral Church of St Paul, and also was chaplain to the British community in the city. The history of the British community goes right back to the early days of independence,
when the merchants (who included some of Clare’s ancestors), the miners, the engineers and sheep farmers from Scotland helped to build the ‘new’ country. St Paul’s has been their community church for 160 years and despite being scattered far and wide today they still return to it for their baptisms, weddings and funerals.
And so here we are, and I look forward to starting work as Associate Priest of the CHQ group. Of course, like everyone else, our lives are on hold for the moment. But not quite! We are discovering again the creativity of village communities as they find technological ways to ‘come together’, and the resilience of the rural church – virtual choirs, quizzes, congregations and concerts, to mention just a few of the wonderful things which are happening. It is a joy to come home to such a vibrant community!
Margaret Stranks – Editor