Vicar’s June Letter

Dear friends,

During the election campaign I read a letter from a Parliamentary candidate standing in a constituency I lived in some years ago. He had served as MP there for some years and part of his argument for re-election was that he knew the people, the local issues and the area really well. To make this point, he made the statement that there wasn’t a road in the constituency that he hadn’t walked down. I was impressed by this straight away. He didn’t live in a rural constituency like the Forest of Dean, but it was impressive nonetheless.  I thought it was an awesome thing for an MP (or a candidate) to be able to say, but I also thought it would be something that vicars ought to be able to say about the parish or parishes in which they served.

I know my way round the three parishes here fairly well and have probably been along most roads, but a fair few I have only travelled by car and I’m sue there’s still quite a few that I haven’t visited at all. So, I have hatched a plan. I’m going to walk along every road in the three parishes!

I’m going to get a detailed map of the three parishes and start walking along the roads. I will mark off where I have walked on the map and let you know how things are going. I don’t know how far I will have to walk or how long this will take (as I will need to try and find time in a busy schedule that doesn’t include much walking at the moment), but the area covered is quite significant. St Stephen’s parish has a Northern boundary just above the junction between High Street and Valley Road, but, possibly surprisingly, both St John’s and St Ethelbert’s Parishes stretch further North. St John’s Northern boundary  runs just below the Monmouth Road from Nailbridge to Mirystock crossroads (near Lydbrook) and St Ethelbert’s Northern boundary is just below Green Bottom. St John’s boundary to the West runs down from the Monmouth Road at Mirystock crossroads to Cannop crossroads (by The Pygmy Pinetum). To the South, St John’s Parish goes as far as The Barracks and below Two Bridges and Bradley Hill. To the East, St Ethelbert’s Parish extends to within about a 1/4 mile of the Greyhound Inn. So, lots of wonderful walking to look forward to!

Being a Vicar, I will not only walk along the roads, but I will pray for the people who live , work and study there.  I am happy to walk on my own, but would prefer to walk with others if that is possible. If you would like to accompany me, for any distance, even if it’s just a few yards outside your house, then please do get in touch. If you see me out and about, please stop me for a chat (and maybe a prayer) or just say ‘Hello’. (Although I don’t always wear it, I will endeavour to wear my collar when I am walking so you can recognise me!)

Ask how I’m doing and do talk to me about walking together if you would like to.

God Bless,

Mike

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