Letter from our Vicar

Letter from our Team of Clergy and Readers - February 2019 (Continued from Home Page)

....Where have we travelled in our lives during the year which has recently ended? What is there to celebrate? What is there to lament? Who have been our companions on this journey? What have been the regrets, the surprises, the delights, the moments of judgment, the seasons of grace?

Now is a good time for each one of us to look at our own life map; not simply the year just ended, but all the years we have lived, and those still to come. If we consider that map with care and honesty, we will recognize twists and turns along the way, times that seemed to make no sense, moments when the road simply disappeared or led to places that should be avoided.

As a benefice we have walked an unexpected road in the last 12 months. When Revd. Mike left us at this time last year, we did not expect to be in vacancy now. We believed that a new vicar would be in place to lead us into 2019. Instead the road of this vacancy has taken some unexpected turns. I refer back to my opening remarks: this is an occasion for us to look at the map of our life as a benefice as well as individually, review our travels and reorient ourselves for whatever road lies ahead. As we reach the end of a full year spent in vacancy we need to examine our situation and the twists and turns of the past 12 months. One thing is clear – we confidently expected that we would quickly prove attractive as a group of parishes to a priest wishing to pursue rural ministry as the next stage of her or his priestly journey. That has not been the case so far.

The benefice profile, the document which describes our parishes to the potential candidates for the position of vicar, is being reviewed to make it more attractive. Is that enough or must we in this new year – our second in vacancy – make a frank and honest
assessment of how we may appear to those who read this profile. Having made that assessment, perhaps we must then to resolve to turn in new directions.

Specifically:

  • Are we open, welcoming and willing to move forward with a new incumbent – or are we going to greet potential new vicars with the words “Don’t change anything”.
  • If we can come to see how such steps can be taken then the purpose behind the twists and turns of this past year may become clear.

God uses twists and turns to prepare an open road for his people. We may find this true if we look intently at the route we’ve travelled, both as a benefice and in our individual lives. We may discover that time we spent away, literally or metaphorically, was for the sake of calling us home and so that others could walk with us.

Now is the season for each of us to pay attention to what we’ve lived, the road we’ve travelled.  We may find that the twists and turns point us to the One who still calls each of us “Child” and welcomes us back home.

Blessings

Revd. Andrew Leach