We are delighted to inform you that the Reverend Kia Pakenham has accepted the post as our new Rector. Kia is known to many of you already, having preached at both St James' and Christ Church in the last couple of months. Since her ordination, part of the training for which was completed alongside Hilary Swift, Kia has worked at Wonersh and was School Chaplain at Duke of Kent - very much a Surrey Hills local.
Firstly we want to thank you all for making us feel so welcome as a family into the community and the church family. We have been blown away by your kindness and generosity - so thank you all!
So, obviously, I can't reflect on the year just gone as your Rector - it would be a short report on the last couple of months - so instead I wanted to take this opportunity to explore expectations - yours and mine - and where, so far, I sense God is moving and calling us to.
In terms of expectations - what can you expect from me? I have been asked what being a part-time Rector looks like. The simple answer is that I'm not sure! I am a priest which encompasses who I am, what I am and whose I am. This means, that in a sense I am never 'off duty'. However, I do have boundaries! Friday is my sabbath - my day off - so unless there is an earthquake, fire or flood I won't be contactable! The other days will be flexible as I find my rhythm of working, resting and playing.
I aim to be a visible presence in our community whether at the pubs, at the fetes, watching cricket, walking, drinking coffee at the various different coffee mornings or in church. Above all I value communication. If you are pleased about something - tell me. If you are unhappy about something - tell me. I am not afraid of awkward or tricky conversations and would much rather hear something directly from you. If in doubt - just come and talk to me.
I am interested and fascinated by your stories. How you came to faith, what your theological hang ups are - your difficult questions. I won't have all the answers but together maybe we can explore them and find our way through. I'm passionate about your faith. I'm passionate about discipleship. I'm passionate about our community. I don't have the monopoly on good ideas. If you have an idea - come and share it - whether it's bouncy castles on the green or allotments in the Rectory Garden - don't keep it to yourself. We are not the biggest parish; we are cash rich and time poor but if we focus on a few ideas we can do them really well.
It's a well used quote by William Temple but so true "The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members". We serve the many not the few - the whole community is our mission field; those that come on a Sunday and those that don't, so I will endeavour to make our church buildings and services more accessible to all - old and young, those with faith and those exploring.
I honour the traditions of the church and have no plans to change our liturgical footprint but by building on our all-age services and introducing opportunities to connect with younger families we can expand our ability to touch all areas of our communities. I value the more contemplative side of our Christian spirituality and personally have found much solace in stillness and the opportunity for space for reflection and meditation. So I am keen to facilitate those spaces in both churches. I would like our churches to be visible and information easy to access. And this includes signage, websites, parish magazines and social media. This is something I will be exploring over the coming year.
In terms of my expectations of you: I would ask, most importantly, for your prayers, your patience and your honest feedback. We are in this together - it's a two way process and a journey we are embarking on, together. I won't get it right all the time, I will make mistakes - so I apologise in advance. I won't move quickly enough for some and for others it will be too quick but with understanding, compassion and love we will have fun along the way!
I don't have a three-point vision plan to lay out before you but three words perhaps sum up what I'm trying to say;
I just want to join in with the God who is already at work among us. He will lead - if we will listen.
I am so excited to join you at this time as we come out of some of the most trying and challenging two and half years that most of us have probably lived through. I sense a new energy and enthusiasm and together, with the grace and love of God to inspire and motivate us, I am sure there are exciting times ahead.
Rev'd Kia x