I wish to begin today by thanking any of you readers who attended and participated (very limited this year because of zoom format) in the Annual Church Meeting held last month.
The Wardens and Council members have long since begun their work for this year and I commend them and their work to your prayers.
We shall meet on Thursday evening this week (on zoom) and the two main items for our work and for your prayers please are:
- the urgent need to replace Katy K who was our Safeguarding Officer for on/off 3 years but has now with family moved away from Stuttgart. If you want to know more then please drop me an email and I will walk and talk you through what the role is to enable you to consider whether this is a good fit.
- not quite so urgent, but equally complex, is the beginnings of a ‘road map’ towards church and chaplaincy life resuming ‘physically’ (in addition, not instead of Online) in steps that continue to keep safety at the forefront (the language that has been used throughout is not only to ensure that people Are safe, but also that they Feel safe).
There are things to be thankful for and there are things to look forward to for all of us despite the uncertainties that still abound. OutdoorChurch on the last Sunday of each of the summer months. Some of you have gardens. Others have been fully vaccinated and can enjoy the easing of anxiety or fear of sickness. Our youngsters, we hope and pray, can return to a fuller school life…. And so the list continues. Yet there is much, at least globally, that is in desperate need of prayer.
Those of you who know scriptures well enough may remember that it took Ancient Israel the experience of Exile and all the accompanying agonies around the ‘absence’ of God, to re evaluate the basis on which they lived and worshipped. In the very early weeks of this pandemic there was much optimistic talk that held those same cadences – of how we would become more mindful of the environment and more just in our global distribution of access to healthcare – was that all empty words of blah blah ?
Having asked you to pray at the outset I wish to reassure you that I too pray. Currently also that our ‘return’ to church and chaplaincy life will be Life Affirming and Inclusive, that we may be more mindful and intentional as we journey on. There is the world of difference between change-for-change sake, and change arriving – and seeing that as an opportunity to embrace the new and the fresh. A reminder that we are a Pentecost people always, not just one day a year. So in closing I will ‘steal’ from our Online worship from 3 weeks ago….. and may it continue to bless.
A Sonnet for Pentecost
by Malcolm Guite
Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.