CREATURES OF HABIT (2)
Well, despite promising last week to reflect on the Euro 2020 final… I feel enough has been said, and I hope lessons learnt at a number of levels across our nation. So, continuing my monastic theme, I came across a helpful quotation from George Guiver CR ….monasteries are a sign to the world, showing the Church something of what it is called to be, which chimed with an important article in the Church Times about cathedrals and parish churches growing their congregations and discipleship alongside (and not instead of) all the Fresh Expressions and lay-led house-churches which were trailed across the landscape of the Church’s General Synod last week.
What does this mean for us? It is again very clear that the parish system is the unit within which we try to grow the Church, and within any groupings of parishes….benefices, groups, teams, deaneries, we are seeking renewal by God’s Holy Spirit, to be outward-facing, relational, missional, collaborative, adaptive and diverse. Some of you have heard me on this from the pulpit, but it remains a core tenet of church growth that each of us needs to take seriously the twin concepts of making our diet of worship attractive and relevant so that, when we invite others to join us, we are proud of all aspects of our public worship. Cathedrals and parishes both exercise a ministry of presence, serving the whole community. Growth is not just for its own sake, but is intimately tied to pastoral care, service, love and social justice.
As in every benefice, under national and episcopal guidance, the churchwardens and I are now able to ease the restrictions on how we gather for worship; we very much hope you are comfortable with the arrangements. This evening we have a first benefice service since the spring of last year, at Henley St Peter, 6.30pm Evensong (BCP) & Sermon; do come, summoned by bells thanks to Stephen Christian and his band of ringers. Perhaps you might make this a monthly habit?!
Every blessing, Mark