March letter

“He who moves not forward, goes backward.” (J W von Goethe)

Change.  We so often resist it. Sometimes passively, just hoping that by doing nothing, the call for change will disappear.  Sometimes actively, by pushing against it, fighting all that compels us to be different.

Yet often, a different approach can have beneficial consequences.

When the Pandemic struck in 2020, we were all forced to stop, think, and change how we did things.  For many of us, it gave us a chance to re-evaluate our priorities.  For example, being kept away from family and friends helped us to realise just how truly important these relationships are.  Sadly, many watched life being prematurely snatched away from loved ones and strangers, alike.  These devastating loses highlighted the frailty of life and brought about a realisation that life is for living.  And some of us even learned new skills which have enhanced our lives going forward.

In the Christian calendar there are times when we are called to reflect on transformational change: Lent is one of these times.  Lent is the 6-week period leading up to Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday.  It is a time to slow down, to contemplate and to examine ourselves as Christians and disciples for Jesus.  This, of course, is a life-long process that continues until our last breath, but Lent provides us with a regular opportunity to grow and deepen our spirituality by engaging in the regular discipline of prayer and study, and deep reflection.

In a similar way, when a church is “in vacancy” (when there is no Lead Vicar or Rector in a parish), this is a time for the church to reflect and examine its role in the community in which it inhabits; to consider how it might do things differently in future.  This is where we, in the Shingay Group of Churches, currently find ourselves.  Now is the time for all of us in the villages, to consider what kind of church, what kind of ministry, we aspire to have in the future.  When these questions have been answered, we will then have a better idea about the kind of Rector we need to help us to get there.

“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good, to give you a future and a hope.” JEREMIAH 29:11

Rev Ann Bol

Associate Priest

Shingay Group of Churches