Dear Friends

Well, the summer is well and truly behind us now, although, weather permitting, we may yet experience an Indian summer. The Proms were over by the middle of September, the schools and colleges have gone back, and the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ is upon us, with its connotations of harvest.

And so it is that we can now finally reveal why our harvest weekend here at St Mary’s was re-arranged this year, from its usual spot in early October to the last weekend in September. If you have not already heard via the local jungle-drums, it was because our very own Chris Field is to be one of the first recipients of the Order of St Richard. In last month’s issue I explained that the Order has been established by Bishop Martin to recognize and celebrate exceptional contributions to local parishes, communities and, more widely, to the diocese.

We were not permitted to ‘name names’ until quite recently, but it gives me great personal pleasure now to confirm that Chris has been invited by the Bishop to attend the investiture ceremony, and to receive this award, on Saturday, 5 October at the Cathedral (details of timings and arrangements for invitations will be confirmed as soon as these are known). I can think of few more worthy recipients. In the eleven years that I have been at Sidlesham, it has been an inspiration to witness Chris’ unstinting dedication and commitment to so many roles — as Sunday School co- ordinator, Churchwarden, Electoral Roll Officer, PCC convenor, Chair of the Christmas and summer fair committees, and, by no means least, Editor of this magazine, Chris brings to all that she does an awesome attention to detail, unsurpassed local knowledge and an enviable combination of practicality and creativity. During the time when the parish rooms were under construction, Chris’ role was absolutely key, both in successfully securing grants for the project, organizing fund-raising events, and in liaising throughout with builders and architects, thus ensuring that the building was completed to budget and on time. In all these ways, and others too many to mention here (I am aware, for example, that Chris was a most successful Chair of Governors at Sidlesham Primary School for a number of years), Chris has for decades made, and continues to make, a truly exceptional contribution to the life of our community and church here in Sidlesham — and all achieved with great personal kindness and pastoral care for all with whom she comes into contact.

So, in recognizing, and thanking Chris for, this wonderful ‘harvest of good works’, we give thanks, also, to the ‘Giver of all good gifis’ for all who contribute, in so many ways, known and unknown, to the life and witness of St Mary’s and to the needs of our wider community here.