Weekly pastoral letter from the Rector

Weekly Pastoral Letter 16 : Trinity + 5,  Sunday 12 July 2020

COLLECT: Almighty and everlasting God, by Whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: hear our prayer which we offer for all Your faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry they may serve You in holiness and truth to the glory of Your name; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who is alive and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.   Amen

READINGS: Isaiah 55:10-13, Psalm 65:9-13, Romans 8:1-11, St. Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

WE PRAY for Bishop Kevin, and all churches as we prepare to re-open. We pray for the national economy, local businesses and farms, and for those who have lost their jobs.

The readings this week are all about “sowing the seed”. This is of course the spiritual interpretation of faith, or growing in grace. In 1995 I moved from an inner-city Belfast parish to a rural parish in County Antrim. I was shocked by how little children seemed to know about their own countryside. In exasperation I asked the Sunday School do you not even know what a cow looks like? Don’t be silly Minister they replied, we’ve seen coos on Emmerdale! NB Antrim & Galloway have similar accents---  We can all be guilty of ecological ignorance. One of the negative aspects of lockdown easing has been people loutishly dumping their rubbish in beautiful rural and seaside resorts. The parable of the seed sowing is all about faith growing in the most unlikely places. Even on hard ground it can grow if watered. The watering is God-awareness in our lives, prayer, bible reading, worship, fellowship with each other (maybe by phone or internet). In rural Kent there is still a practise of the vicar, church- wardens and choir, walking the bounds of the parish, and asking God’s blessing on the crops. Sounds like a great idea. I am a big fan of the church being seen and I may have a cunning plan! By the way thank you to our local farmers and small businesses for literally keeping us alive.  Stephen                                                                                                                                                    

QUOTE of the WEEK: “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant”.  Robert Louis Stevenson

NEWS: Under Phase 3 government legislation churches may re-open for limited public worship. Rather endure the stringent regime for Phase 2 private prayer only, waiting until the College of Bishop's implement guidelines SOON for regular worship seems more sensible. Meanwhile it is “business as usual” with Sunday outdoor prayers & pastoral care for all.  SH