Greetings from your Priest-in-Charge
What a joy and privilege it is to sit and write my first letter for this parish magazine! At this time, my life is so full of joy and such a sense of privilege that I appear to be starting virtually every sentence with variations on that theme! I sit to write this, at the end of such an exciting weekend of being licensed to the Saxilby and Stow Groups of Parishes on the Friday evening, then spending time in both the groups getting to know people and places on the Saturday, and then worshipping with all the congregations together on Sunday at St Mary’s, Stow. Now I look forward to settling in to the rhythm of the parishes, their worship, fellowship and service, over these coming months. It is a huge and exciting new beginning for me, and for the parishes too.
It is impressive to see how well the parishes have continued with worship and service through this long vacancy. There must have been so many people working so hard from the congregations (and other supporters) and the clergy to keep everything so well ordered during this time. I am so pleased and grateful that you have done so! We have such an excellent platform for us to begin our time together and to look forward to future endeavours. Thank you.
That hard work isn’t about to stop! But I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in to it too! Anybody who was at my licensing on the Friday night will have joined in with singing one of my favourite hymns – Jesus Christ is Waiting (written by the Iona Community in 1988). Its words speak clearly of my motivations to get stuck in. If you can look up the words please do, but it speaks of Jesus Christ raging against injustice, healing where there is suffering, loving where there is hatred and guiding us through our lives of service and worship of God. It’s most important message is that we are to join in, He will work through us and upon us, to make us fit and able for our work together. It reminds me of that all-important, reoccurring theme in the New Testament (for example Ephesians Chapter 6 Verse 10) – that it is in His strength that we must work, and not our own. If we try to do it alone we soon crumble!
So how do we work in His strength? Well it must begin with prayer and our time worshipping together. Then, through that, we can identify the ‘hot spots’ where the Holy Spirit is at work and get stuck in! And there really is no greater joy and privilege than that!
Your friend and newbie priest-in-charge,