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Dear Friends

It was a great joy to be able to join with you all as public worship resumed once more at St Mary’s on Easter Sunday morning. As ever, we were deeply indebted to our Churchwardens for their impeccable advance planning and organization, which ensured that the service could be socially distanced as required and yet audible to those in the parish rooms as well as those who patiently sat outside in the churchyard! Despite the necessary restrictions, it was a truly uplifting occasion and thanks must be extended to all who helped to make it so special — particularly to Mary Monnington and her team for the beautiful flower arrangements, our Director of Music for planning the music so thoughtfully, the choir, who were in fine voice, and Fr Roger for an inspiring and thought-provoking sermon. For Margaret and myself it was, of course, a particularly poignant occasion as we had to say ‘goodbye’ to you all, but, again, we were so thankful for the excellent tribute from Mike Allisstone, which was perceptive as well as kindly, and offered a perfect balance of humour and seriousness! And, we need hardly add that we were completely overwhelmed by the generosity of the presentations — the beautiful colour wash (a kind of watercolour) of the church, which will be given pride of place in our new home in Chichester, the wonderful photobook, compiled by Lesley Bromley. containing so many precious memories of our happy times here in Sidlesham, the cards, flowers and far-too-generous cheque (which we hope to use for a holiday once such ventures are again permittedl). Thank you all so much — you will always be in our thoughts and prayers, and we wish you God speed for all that the next chapter here at Sidlesham will bring.

Fr Stephen