Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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What a year! It has been just twelve months since we heard that Fr Gary Morgan was leaving us to take up a new post in Wainfleet. The prospect of getting through the year without a vicar was daunting - especially when in the spring thieves stole more lead from our roof. However, despite the setbacks, and the ongoing need to raise funds, we have a number of successes to report:

Firstly, our congregation has grown into a warm and friendly group, although there are still lots of empty places in the church and a very warm welcome for everyone that joins us.  

Secondly, the church itself is several steps closer to achieving approval for the conservation and restoration project that is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Programme.  We have staged a number of events over the past year, from heritage fun days to craft workshops and a pamper evening, all to help raise funds and awareness, and to involve villagers in the process. It is wonderful to see people coming into the church and having fun again! We have lots more planned for 2016, so do keep an eye on the website and the notice boards.  Early consultation on the plans for making the church into a multi-functional space that can be used by the community as a real centre of activity, as well as a place of worship, are already underway. We expect to be able to present the plans for public consultation by February next year,

Thirdly, in addition to the book swap, which enables anyone to pop into the church any day except Monday to borrow one of the books on display - a mini village library - we have also started the Crafty Coffee and Cake club. Every month there is an open invitation for folks to join us for a couple of hours of fun and companionship. As with all of our events, there is no charge, although donations are always welcome.

There is also a history club that is just starting up for those who are curious about Algarkirk's past, and we are always looking volunteers who can commit a couple of hours here and there as we try to build towards a better future. We hope that next year will see the start of further regular community activities so there is something for everyone. 

Obviously we couldn't have done this without the support and co-operation of lots of people who have cleaned, baked, put up posters, sold tickets and helped out in so many ways. Thank you all so much!

Of course, it hasn't all been good. And it is with great sadness that I write of the passing of Fr Phillip Wood, who came to our church as a visiting vicar and, together with his wife, Yvonne, came to be a real pillar of support. In the too few months he was with us, he won the love and respect of all who met him, and played a considerable part in building our congregation. We shall remember him with gratitude and with a smile, because it is impossible to think of Phil, as he liked to be called, and to be sad!

It only remains, on behalf of the PCC,  to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a joyful and healthy New Year. Whether for worship or one of the activities, we hope to see you at St Peter and St Paul's very soon.