“Let mutual love continue” is a fittingly poignant scripture passage to have as a text for my final contribution to the column which goes online and in the pew sheet.
Our vision as a parish is to be a “Christian community growing in faith, hope and love” – and, as I am regularly reminded at weddings, St Paul declares that “the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13.13). So, with the fifth anniversary of the Ball family moving in to the Rectory having just passed, I look back and recall my response to (I think) Bishop Mark at my interview.
Q. “What would you plan to do as Rector?”
A. “I’d want to love the people of the parish into a fuller experience of the joy of life in Christ” (or words to that effect).
Of course, I’ve failed more times that I’d care to admit. But, even when struggling with parish admin late at night or perceived hostile comments, that motivation of love (received as well as given) has been a constant encouragement. As another interregnum looms, I pray that I am not kidding myself in feeling there is a spirit abroad of greater confidence, a deeper sense of community and even some excitement amidst the anxiety for the future. The fruit of mutual love, perhaps?
Going forward please, “do not neglect to do good and to share what you have”. Most especially share, with each other and those who know it not, that precious gift of joy in the life of Christ.
Thank you for your love – receive mine.
All of our readings today speak in some way of God reaching out to all, offering love. The gospel reading in particular shows how sometimes the transformation that an encounter with Jesus brings (and demands) can be rather disconcerting – and how some retreat from it, preferring things to remain as they were before. The PCC meeting on Thursday evening recognised that some of the energy and changes that have flowed from last month’s Vision Day, coupled with the forthcoming interregnum, have left some parishioners rather disconcerted – unsure of where authority and responsibility for implementing their ideas for change (or maintaining the status quo) lie. There will, next month, be a general letter from the Wardens and me answering that question. In essence, ‘though, whatever the offer of involvement, proposal or query, you should speak to one of the Wardens (contact details in pewsheet) who will be able to say whether there is a group already working on the matter and let you know with whom you should connect or whether you can go ahead with implementation.
You can, of course, also speak to Steve or me – although our main focus in the coming weeks is to enable and prepare those who are going to take forward the parish’s mission during the interregnum. That mission, in the form of the Parish Plan – which is substantially the same as that circulated last month – was agreed by the PCC. The PCC also agreed an exciting development – to employ a part-time Children & Families Worker. This should ensure continuity for this growing area of our ministry and ongoing support for Messy Church and the family worship services.
Have a great week!