From the Rector…

Clergy

We extend a warm welcome to Archdeacon Fiona as she visits the parish and preaches at St Nicholas’ Patronal Festival this morning.  This afternoon she will take her place in Chichester Cathedral, our mother church, as Bishop Martin blesses a specially designated door to herald the Year of Mercy he has declared for the Diocese.  Pope Francis, whose call Bishop Martin is supporting, describes such a door as “a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons and instils hope”.  It is a welcoming door through which all in need may enter, but also a door from which the Church must go out to proclaim mercy to all.

As our Alpha Course concluded this week I was struck by how much it had anticipated (and modelled) some of the key principles both of the Year of Mercy and how we can be “church”:  the open welcome, the fellowship (and thanks again to Higgidy Pies for another wonderful meal on Tuesday!), the learning through clear teaching and free discussion, the building of a common purpose respectful of individual needs and journeys and the going out challenged yet resourced.   The final evening spoke powerfully as in the talk and discussion we considered what the church could be and, quite naturally, put it into practice in the support of two of our members – one who received (during the talk) news of the death of a family member and one who was then in hospital and died shortly afterwards.  It is that bond, within the church family and with all God’s children, that was modelled by St Nicholas.  His is an example of a life infused with pastoral care, teaching and worship that continues to proclaim the gospel in our own day and challenges us to do likewise.

Anthony

From the Curate…

Clergy

“Right!”

Liz fears this word in our house.  It comes out of lips at the meal table in our kitchen or we are just about to go out as a family or in mid conversation in a coffee shop.  I do it sub-consciously (but occasionally consciously).  It signifies to Liz and the girls that I have had enough of waiting and this is the time for action.  Right!  Time to leave a meal table and get on. Right! Time for us to actually try to leave the house somewhere near to the time we actually agreed we would (I live in a house of girls!) or Right! I have just done my mental to-do-list in my head and unless the day has 36hrs I need to get going.

That is how it feels to me as I enter the season of Advent. Right! Here we go – time for action – if I thought I was busy before Advent then just wait for the next few weeks. There will be lots of ‘Rights!’ My very summarised to-do-list looks like this

  • lots of services
  • six School Nativities
  • advertise this and that
  • last Alpha meal/talk

Oh and Christmas, buy presents, work out what we are eating and write cards! The pew sheet just isn’t big enough. I think if Jesus returned, as described in Luke this week, I might, if He was lucky, find a slot in my list (but way down the bottom).  All these things are important but are they the most important and what should I be saying “right” to?

In Advent, we should be giving ourselves space and time to prepare for the birth of Jesus.  The Advent Quiet afternoon on 5th December is much needed time and space in order to re-evaluate my to-do-list, so I can focus on the most important aspect of life in Advent or any other season – my relationship with God through his Son with the power of his Holy Spirit.

Steve