I love officiating at really joyful occasions

From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

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One of the great joys of the role of a vicar is that I get to be with people at some of the most significant moments of their lives.

These moments are often connected to new beginnings, particularly with christenings and weddings.

Over the summer we have held a good number of christenings at St Faith’s, Lee-on-the-Solent, where I am the vicar, and each one has been a great opportunity to give thanks for the beginning of a new life, and to bring each child to God as they are baptised.

Before the christening I love meeting with new parents, hearing about their child, their hopes and dreams for the future, and being able to help the parents mark this significant moment with a service in church.

Last Sunday, some of those newly-christened children came to St Faith’s to be welcomed by the wider church community.

We re-lit their baptismal candles, gave each one a First Bible, and prayed for wisdom and help for their parents and godparents as they raise their children.

This coming Saturday we have two weddings at St Faith’s, with more weddings later in the month.

I love presiding at weddings – they’re such joyful occasions, where we celebrate a couple making significant and important promises to each other.

Before each wedding, I like to meet each engaged couple in a local pub, so we can get to know each other and discuss their plans for their wedding day.

Every couple’s story is different and special; some couples have been together a long time, others’ for a much shorter period, some met at school, others are embarrassed (although they shouldn’t be!) to tell me that they met online, some relationships have been on-and-off a number of times, but now they have decided to be married.

Whatever the story, weddings, with friends and family gathered together, mark a new beginning for a couple, and it’s a delight to be involved.

Life is full of new beginnings, whether it’s as significant as a baby’s birth or a wedding, or just the beginning of a new school year, or a return to work after a summer holidays.

I love seeing new beginnings.

How about you?

n St Faith’s Church, Victoria Square, Lee-on-the-Solent

n Sunday services:

8am: Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion

9.30am: Parish Eucharist

11am: Sundays@11 (all-age service)

6pm: Evening Prayer