From the Rector…


I’d like to start on this, the last Sunday of the Church’s year, with a huge thank you to all those who were involved in offering hospitality and otherwise supporting our guests on the Pilgrimage2Paris last weekend.  The comments posted on social media gave a very positive image of the parish.  And that, perhaps, is a link into some reflections from my own ‘pilgrimage’ last week in Egypt where time and again I was struck by the way in which the Christian community (about 10-15% of the Egyptian population) lives out its faith through service to “neighbour”.  Projects to provide education, medical services, micro-loans, relief of poverty, refugee assistance abound and are offered to all, irrespective of faith tradition, in the midst of challenging (and often discriminatory) circumstances .  One of my colleagues on the pilgrimage said that he had come expecting to find a church “needing us” and instead came away challenged and encouraged by what we saw.  The phrase from the Alpha talk I had given just before leaving that– “we are not saved by good works, we are saved by grace, but we are saved for good works” kept coming to mind.   And the Coptic Church’s service (“good works”) seems to be borne out of, or has itself produced, a remarkable blessing.  The church next to where we were staying regularly had over 100 coming for daily Morning Prayer followed by Eucharist (1.5 hours!); one church dug out of the rock in the “garbage city” on Cairo’s outskirts has 6,000 (really!) for their Thursday evening bible study; 40 years ago monastic life was dying out with only a few hundred monks – now there are over 15,000 … and all in context where “mission” is amongst those who are already Christian.  You can imagine my prayer for the impact of yesterday’s Holy Spirit Day on our parish life !