39 Cedar Drive
Feast of the Conversion of St Paul 2019
So many memories crowd in as I approach my final weeks in the parish. My two Ordinations, of course, and that wonderful First Mass in which you were all so involved; Church Family visits to Walsingham, Mirfield, and Cambridge; the Flower Festival of 2017 and the tremendous sense of energy which propelled it forward; countless baptisms, weddings and funerals and the gift of sharing in Christ’s presence among us at these moments of grace; the great joy of the Church’s festivals which spills into our worship and hospitality; numerous parish parties, suppers, lunches, teas, drinks – and meetings; the beautiful way the golden evening light shafts into the peace of St Mary’s as the sun sets; friends gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; the hugs and the laughter; the daily round of prayer and praise which sanctifies everything we do here, and the priest’s priceless privilege of offering the ‘sweet Sacrament divine’, the Holy Eucharist, with two or three people on weekdays in the chapel or with hundreds amid clouds of incense and glorious music at times of festivity and rejoicing. It has been wonderful to be part of the life of this Church Family at a time of growth and renewal.
Our two churches have beautiful dedications: the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church of All Saints. Mary in her glory in heaven shows us that our God exalts the humble and meek and fills the hungry with good things, and we rejoice that as she is the Mother of our Lord, so she has become our Mother also. All Saints point us to the joy and the cost of following Christ, and undergird us with the strengthening power of that unseen cloud of witnesses who surround our steps as we journey on. Both of them – the Assumption and All Saints – remind us of what our human nature can be, what is the promise of our inheritance in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we proclaim in season and out of season, since, like St Paul, ‘we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.’
I thank Matthew, first, for his sympathy, teaching, guidance, kindness and nurture, his willingness to let us try new things, and his generosity in sharing the ministry here with a new and inexperienced colleague. I thank Pat, upon whom all the staff are entirely dependent and who models a tremendous, practical Christian compassion, wisdom, dedication and love. I ask forgiveness of those of you whom I have hurt, or offended, or let down. I want to say a sincere ‘thank you’ to you all for your support, your encouragement, your patience, your humour and the constant generous hospitality of your homes, your large-heartedness, warm-spiritedness and zeal in the Faith.
I hope you and yours will be able to join us for the Parish Eucharist at 10am on Sunday 17 February, my last Sunday as your Assistant Curate, when as a Church Family we’ll meet our Risen Lord in the Breaking of the Bread, and share drinks and lunch afterwards.
‘Blessed, praised, hallowed and adored be Jesus Christ on his throne of glory in heaven, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, and in the hearts of his faithful people.’
With love and affection in Jesus,
your friend and priest,
Laban called the pillar Mizpah, for he said,
‘The LORD watch between you and me, when we are absent one from the other.’