Firstly, the important stuff. Through Santa Margarita, the Anglican Church in Menorca, God continues to be worshipped. God continues to be praised. God continues to be served. The Gospel Good News continues to be preached and spread. People of all ages from the very young to the very elderly are encouraged in the Christian faith. Outreach is pursued.
Menorca is blessed in having a core of residents from Anglican, Catholic and other non-conformist traditions drawn to Santa Margarita, an established Priest and an established home in the beautiful Chapel of Santa Margarita.
This does not mean that everything in the garden is rosy. There is no room for complacency or lessening of effort. Sadly there have been keenly felt deaths of much loved members. Others have returned to the UK for the common reasons of failing health, missing the grandchildren or fears over Brexit. Conversely there has been no noticeable arrival of new retirees from the UK and in the current economic climate on Menorca there is little to attract younger work-seekers and families. The requirements of ‘hierarchy’ do not lessen, be they for money, for statistics, for reports, for evolving Safeguarding etc. They may be entirely necessary but they are requirements placed on a limited number of willing volunteers. Being an island, Menorca is physically isolated with diminishing reliable transport links, there is no one ‘next door’ able to give urgent help if required and conversely, we have to guard against inward looking insularity.
With this in mind, we feel it important that our Chaplain should share peer support whenever and wherever possible and we encourage and support his attending ‘Clergy Cluster’ meetings.
Santa Margarita continues to play an active role in the life of the whole community. For some years we have shared with our Roman Catholic friends and the local social services in providing food parcels for the local needy. Latterly this has evolved into Santa Margarita distributing food vouchers exchangeable at local shops enabling the recipients to have a measure of choice when exchanging them and at the same time this supports local traders.
We enjoy an excellent relationship with our Roman Catholic friends sharing Ecumenical services including the sharing of Priestly leadership. We were delighted to receive personal Christmas greetings from the Bishop of Menorca.
(This picture shows our Chaplain who was invited to participate in the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) with the Bishop and our local Roman Catholic Priests).
Over the year there has been a good number of noteworthy events. Here are a few samples. We have offered concerts to the community given by invited professional organists, choirs and bands e.g. a local Menorcan choir and the Gwent Brass touring band.
As we celebrated the day of Pentecost at Santa Margarita, we also welcomed three people to receive their first Holy Communion. This was a joyful celebration in the midst of regular worshippers, seasonal visitors and family and friends of those being received.
Activities for children continue to be offered on a monthly basis here in Santa Margarita, also on the other side of the island in a beautiful Carmelite Chapel (which is also used for one of our outreach Carol services). The childrens programmes offer an opportunity to have some fun while exploring a biblical or seasonal theme.
A number of Wedding Blessings have taken place plus one actual full wedding. It is a joy to arrange these happy events for couples, families and friends (and of course, the donations do help the coffers!)
Like many of our churches across the Diocese, the Remembrance service in November 2018 was especially poignant it being the 100thanniversary of the end of the First World War, and many ex-pats, who are not usual attendees at Santa Margarita, were welcomed.
We strive to have open doors and a welcome for all who would come at any time. It was pleasing to learn that a ‘mystery visitor’ had attended and that a positive report had been made on the welcome received. In practice this has been a prompt telling us that we must never be complacent in our ministry of welcome.
In the opening paragraph on ‘the really important stuff’ there is no mention of fundraising. Thankfully, the important stuff is not overwhelmed by the need to pursue money, necessary though it is. Effort is guided where possible into making outreach and giving, the primary purpose of fundraising activities. That having been said, however, substantial structural repairs were found to be necessary for part of the roof of Santa Margarita. These have been completed but the cost of this major undertaking is 27,750.00€ and realising it now falls to the generosity of each of our members, visitors and friends of Santa Margarita.
We look to the coming year with some anxiety regarding dwindling numbers but also with trust that we will continue to serve God and all people on and with links to Menorca.
As last year, we close our report with a photo of Revd. Paul being Sant Nicolás, distributing ‘gold’(!) – well, gold chocolate coins, in a spirit of outreach and giving.
Happy New Year and very best wishes to all our Archdeaconry Chaplaincies.
Trevor & Margaret Jones January 2019
Santa Margarita, Menorca, Archdeaconry Synod Reps.
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