Message from Revd Mark

22nd May 2022

Dear Friends

“GIVE SOMEONE A FISH AND YOU FEED THEM FOR A DAY; TEACH THEM TO FISH AND YOU FEED THEM FOR A LIFETIME”…..so runs one of Christian Aid’s best straplines, and within it there is a deep truth which I share with you following last week’s notes here about growing the Church.

In a nutshell we will fail to grow the Church numerically, or younger (on average) if we neither have growth in influence (described last week) or in depth. I suggest that those who do not yet belong to the Christian community might come occasionally (you know the sort of events and occasions) , but will fail to eventually belong if they don’t understand what we are about. We need not to be naïve about this …why would they?

My thesis here is that we need to be more literate about what The Church believes….we have to ask ourselves the question, why do I go to Church? And the answers will I hope reside in its basic doctrines (much of it very clearly expounded in our hymnody as well as in deep theological tomes) as well as in what it does. Our various modes and styles of worship are shot through with Holy Scripture, and pray God, our sermons and homilies should shed light on aspects of our Faith being worked out in today’s world. We need to be confident and able to give some account of the Faith that is within us. In token of which two people from this benefice have decided to be Confirmed by the Bishop ….June 5th at St Helen’s Ipswich, 6.30pm ….building on their infant baptisms and having undergone a short course of instruction and discussion here (you may have spotted the ‘Faith Confirmed’ sessions this spring).

In my last post with the Forestry Commission in Ludlow (1983-1988) one of my office staff, Ann (also one of  my son Oliver’s godmothers) went to work for Christian Aid in their London office during the week, living in a convent, and while there decided to undertake training to be a Distinctive Deacon (ordained but not priested). She came home after three years, was ordained in Hereford Cathedral, and served her curacy in Hereford, commuting by train from Ludlow. God had other plans for here and she was eventually priested, and has become Perpetual Curate of Ludlow, doing wonderful pastoral work, and is now a Prebendary of Hereford Cathedral. Ann’s journey embodies much of this concept of going deeper, and yes, over time, but for her there was that stirring of enquiry and wanting to also ‘go beyond’, do more, and understand why.

“After three days they found him (Jesus) in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2: 46-47). Could each of us seek to do likewise? So do just ask!

Mark

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