Rector’s letter April 2019
Like me, I’m sure you think the arrival of the longer lighter days and shorter nights, even though it is still quite cold, is something to welcome and celebrate. Each time, sitting in my study to write this letter, I always have the same view of the garden, however what I see is very different each time. This morning there are five very plump, and very healthy, wood pigeons carefully eating the grass seed I so carefully planted last week. While behind them there is a swathe of yellow and white daffodils gently swaying in the breeze. The seasons have turned again and the new life that has lain dormant in the cold winter ground is now bursting into life.
In our churches we are now adorned with our Lenten arrays, altar frontals
and pulpit falls are of blue or purple, colours which we use to reflect and
help us visualise the changing of our church seasons. The blues and purples
we use in Lent remind us of a sombre reflectiveness which is the predominant nature of the season of Lent. It is a time for us to look into ourselves, our hearts and our minds, and consider how we are being the people God called us to be. It is a time in which we need to fast, not necessarily from the physical aspects of life, but from the busyness of life. We need to find a space and some unhindered time in our daily routines, to
just be ourselves and be in the presence of God, offering our thoughts to God and listening for His answer.
Finding space and time with God can be difficult, but once achieved will, I am sure, find you wanting more. Once we give time over to our connection withGod, then we find that we are enthused to want to know and understand more. Deepening our spiritual nature, in other words deepening our personal discipleship as followers of Jesus Christ, helps us to become the people God has called us to be, helping us to manifest Jesus and the Good news of his story in today’s world through our deeds and words.
If that is where you want your life to be, then I encourage you to use Lent
this year and in the years to come carefully and wisely. Through these
actions we can help move ourselves and our church communities forward in
faithfulness to God. We can turn around the decline of the past to a new and
enlivened mission for the future. We can move from maintenance churches,
those just keeping going, to churches that grow with people actively wanting
to join us and be part of a like-minded community of people.
As we start our new journey together, we are changing our service rota to
enable more communities access to church on Sunday in places where they live, on a regular basis. We have introduced new styles of service on Sunday and during the week to enable more people to find a comfortable home for their worship. Study courses will now feature regularly throughout the
year to help us explore scripture and our understanding of it, and community engagement projects supported by our Mission Development Fund, will ensure an explicit Christian activity is embedded in everything we do.
Maintenance is what we do well,
Mission is a difficult concept but
all it really means is Christian
Growth. We need our churches,
through our personal deepening
discipleship, to move from
Maintenance mode, to Mission
(or Growth) mode.
To support this on 28th April we will be having a single service across the Group with the Bishop of Grimsby leading our worship. In this service we will mark our new start as communities transiting from Maintenance to Growth, and pray for God’s invigorating strength and help, to support us in bringing more people into his Kingdom in our villages.
Finally, may I offer you a short prayer, for you to say and repeat slowly, until you are still, quiet and gently feeling the presence of God.
Be still, and know, that I am God
Be still, and know, that I am
Be still, and know