Vicar's Letter

VERSE OF 2017:

 

“Christ in you, the hope of glory!”

 

Colossians 1:27b

(New International Version)

 

Dear Friends,

 

As we draw towards the end of another Lent, I hope you have had some benefit from this special season.  I know that some of us will have been looking at writing a personal Rule of Life, and many will have either given things up, or taken things up, with a view to living closer to God and maybe closer to the people God calls us to love.  There are still some Hours of Prayer you can join in with – Saturdays 8-9am in St John’s Vestry (the last one is 15th April, Easter Eve) and Mondays 8-9pm at my house (last one 10th April).

 

We look forward to a Palm Sunday procession, complete with donkey, on the 9th after the 10.00 service, and then to all the glories of Holy Week and Easter: “the hope of glory” because Christ, who lived the only perfect human life there has ever been, offered it of his own free will for the sins and failures and tragedies of us all, and received it back again when he conquered death, now lives that life in the heart of every believer by his Holy Spirit. 

 

Do please come if you can to our Annual Parochial Church Meeting on Wednesday 5th April.  It is taking place unusually early in the month! As usual, there will be a bring-and-share supper (a range of drinks provided) at 6.30 followed by the meeting at 7.15.  I do so appreciate the effort people make to come to this very important gathering.  There are a number of vacancies for people to serve the Church’s mission as PCC members, and a couple of Deanery Synod vacancies too.  So please pray for the right people to offer themselves.  All our PCC groups – Discipleship, Worship and growth, Wider community, Youth & Children, Buildings, and Finance – are very worthwhile places to serve.

 

I’m pleased to report progress with Messy Church, which will be going ahead on a pilot basis at Cedar School on 12th May, 14th July and 8th September (all second Fridays of the month) after which we shall review the whole thing and, God willing, make a plan for continuing it in the best way.  This is an exciting and challenging development, and of course we ask everyone to pray that by doing this, we shall be opening a door into God’s kingdom for a substantial number of people in our parish who need something rather different from our usual worship services.

 

Please everyone pray for both our local Church Schools, as towards the end of this month they both expect to be interviewing Head-teacher candidates.  Pray that the 500 children at our two schools, and the dozens of staff, may get the kind of leaders they need: personal, academic and spiritual. 

 

If you get this in time, Sunday 2nd April at 6.30 is a Healing Ministry service, with the chance to receive laying-on of hands and/or anointing for healing.

 

Wishing you all a very special and blessed Easter,

 

Yours truly,

Julian

 

CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY – Bishop Tom Wright on “I believe in the resurrection of the body” (from the Apostles’ Creed):

 

“Why will we be given new bodies? According to the early Christians, the purpose of this new body will be to rule wisely over God’s new world. Forget those images about lounging around playing harps. There will be work to do and we shall relish doing it. All the skills and talents which we have put to God’s service in this present life – and perhaps, too, the interests and likings we gave up because they conflicted with our vocation – will be enhanced and ennobled and given back to us to be exercised to his glory.

 

This is perhaps the most mysterious, and least explored, aspect of the resurrection life. But there are several promises in the New Testament about God’s people ‘reigning’, and these cannot just be empty words. If… the biblical view of God’s future is of the renewal of the entire cosmos, there will be plenty to be done, entire new projects to undertake. In terms of the vision of original creation in Genesis 1 and 2, the garden will need to be tended once more, and the animals renamed. These are only images, of course, but like all other future-oriented language they serve as true signposts to a larger reality – a reality to which most Christians give little or no thought.

The new body will be a gift of God’s grace and love.”

 

(from ‘Surprised by Hope’, SPCK 2007)