Many of you will know by now that my family and I are leaving Ecclesfield next year,
heading off to the Diocese of Exeter. This month’s letter is based on the announcement that I
made in Church on Sunday 12th October.

I have been offered, and have accepted, the post of Priest in Charge of the Aune Valley
Benefice. It is benefice of 5 rural parishes on the south coast of Devon, a few miles away from
the town of Kingsbridge, with the Rectory in the village of Thurlestone. The move to this new
post will take place in April 2015. It is my hope that Emma and the children will stay in the
Vicarage here in Ecclesfield until the end of the school year and join me in July.
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Mission Statement.
We are here to help people love and worship God.
We aim to be, and encourage others to become, committed and active disciples of Jesus, who
love God and worship him, who know the power of the Holy Spirit and who show God’s love
in every part of their lives.
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Prayer for the Month
First Thoughts - The Vicar's Letter
Below you will find extracts from this month's Parish Magazine
First Words...,  A Prayer for the Month & A Thought for the Month
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The Collect for Advent Sunday

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen
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First Words...
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  • First Words, Prayer for the Month and First Thoughts have been updated for
    November - see below
  • Read Bishop Peter's letter for November - Bishop's Letter.
  • New Forthcoming Event - Christmas Fayre see - Forthcoming Events
  • The November issue of the Parish Magazine is available On-Line.
  • Have a look at some interesting and thought provoking videos - Viral Videos
  • The  Diary and Rotas  page now has on-line features and will always be 'up-to-date'
  • Don't forget to check the Weekly Notices for service times and the latest news.
  • Listen Again - Listen again to recently recorded Sunday sermons including; Easter,
    Palm Sunday, The Lenten Reflections etc.
  • New Page - 6 Faces in a Wall - St. Mary’s link with local sculptor Andrew Vickers
    AKA Stoneface
  • Free Wi-Fi available in church for those who need to be 'connected'
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  • Remembrance Sunday - On Sunday 9th November we will gather at 10.00 am for
    our Service of Remembrance. This year commemorates the 100th anniversary of the
    outbreak of the First World War and so there will be added poignancy. Please join us
    for this special service as we reflect and remember.

  • Getting Ready For Christmas - November is the month that our Christmas
    preparations begin. I’m not talking about Christmas trees and turkeys, I’m talking
    about Advent. The Season of Advent begins on Sunday 30th November. Make sure
    that your Christmas 2014 has time and space for the true meaning of Christmas.

                                                                                Daniel Hartley
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The first window of opportunity involves my family circumstances. Emma and I are
committed to doing the best for our children and, as a result of this, we do not want to move
them during their secondary school years. Jude is currently in Year 6 and so will be starting
secondary school in September 2015. With Nathanael following after him, this means that if
we do not move during this year then we will not be able to move for another 10-12 years. In
good conscience I cannot commit to being with you for that period of time, nor do I believe
that a 16 year incumbency would be good for this parish.
I have grown immeasurably during my time with you. I have learnt a lot about my
strengths and weaknesses and I hope that I have imparted some words of encouragement
along the way. I have found the people of this Church to be amongst the friendliest that I
have encountered and I will take away many happy memories. As I believe that God is
calling me away, so I believe that God will be calling somebody to help you write the next
chapter in the life of this Church.
In one sense there is never a right time for a Vicar to leave a parish. Notwithstanding this,
you will, I’m sure, have expected me to stay as the Vicar of Ecclesfield for more than 4 years.
This was an expectation that I shared up until a few months ago.

After a time of prayer and reflection I have come to the conclusion that, despite the relatively
short period of time that I have been with you, now is the right time to move. The reason for
this involves two windows of opportunity.
The second window of opportunity concerns the life of this parish. During the past 4 years
there has been a huge amount of change and this change is now bedding in well. It is
bedding in well and people are coming forward in leadership. In actual fact we are, as a
parish, where I hoped we would be after 6 years. 6 years’ worth of work has been achieved in
a little under 4 years. We are now at a time of consolidation, rather than change. If I had
been staying in Ecclesfield then new opportunities for change and development would have
arisen, but of course, that is a chapter to be written under the support and guidance of
somebody else.
Of course I will be with you for several more months and, in one sense, it’s business as usual:
Church Services, wedding, baptisms and funerals. In other sense though, it is a time of
planning and consolidation. I will work with the Church Council in ensuring that the mission
and ministry of this Church will continue long after I have gone. It will be a time for the
whole Church here in Ecclesfield to reflect on where God is calling you.
There will be plenty of time for goodbyes later on, but for now, I ask that you keep me and
my family in your prayers as we keep you in ours.

                                                                                        Daniel Hartley