Vicar's Febuary Letter

 

Revd. Angela Walker

Dear friends,

I hope that you are all keeping well and that you have escaped the nasty viruses that have been doing the rounds lately.

Looking back to last year we had a wonderful week in November where the Bishop of Rochester, Bishop James visited the deanery for the week. I was privileged to spend lots of time with the Bishop at various events; taking him into the school to do an assembly, hosting a communion service with him in Cobham Church, handing out free coffee to the commuters at Longfield station, welcoming him and others to the St Mary Church Room at Sole Street as they began a walk to Istead Rise and enjoying drinks and a chat with him in the Leather Bottle pub. Apart from all the services and events, each of us clergy had a private meeting with Bishop James to discuss our ministry and any personal matters. It was a good week and I hope that some of you managed to attend at least one of the events. In his pastoral care of me the Bishop suggested I take a month’s study leave this year, to reflect on my ministry and future plans. So I intend to do just that at some point early this year.

At the beginning of a new year we tend to focus our thoughts on the future, on what the year might bring. We make resolutions that we at least attempt to keep. And we hope for a good year but I wonder how many of us take time out to properly review the past year.  What were the positives and negatives? What did we achieve? What could we have done better etc. sometimes it is only by reviewing the past that we can see clearly what to do next. As we look back we can sometimes get a better perspective for the future.

Sometimes a proper review and the space set aside to pray and study the word of God is what is needed to refresh our ministry and help us to plan the way ahead.

Church life while full of the promises of God and exciting moments of discovering the goodness of God, is not without its challenges. One of the greatest challenges that we face at the moment is a huge lack of resources. We just do not have the financial resources to do the things that we want to do. Nor do we have the human resources to cover what needs to be done at present or bring about any future plans that we might have.

At Luddesdowne Church we have been without a treasurer for a year now but the accounts still have to be done as does the banking and paying of bills. This responsibility has fallen onto the shoulders of our one existing Church Warden there, who incidentally is our only administrator for both churches as well. So we pray for a new treasurer.

At Cobham we are without a music director/organist and have to resort to playing CDs for worship although Jill Beety helps out when she can.

Our long standing treasurer at Cobham would like to pass on that responsibility too if someone else could be found to take it over. One of our Church Wardens is due to step down here as well. Both of these people have spent an enormous amount of their time overseeing the building work to the chancel area this past year. So we pray for a new treasurer and another new Church Warden here too.

The church runs on volunteers, if it were not for all of you lovely volunteers we would not be able to function at all. So in whatever capacity you may be serving the church at present, printing, delivering or editing the magazine, keeping the grounds looking nice, raising funds, serving in some capacity at church services, running messy church, or any of the other varied ministries that we offer may I say a huge thank you to you all.

The lack of resources is one of many issues I will be thinking about over the next little while as I prepare for some study leave and I hope that you will pray for me and for the church that we might find the resources we need and come up with some creative wisdom if we do not.

I would be pleased to hear of any ‘Positive’ feedback on any of the above.

So how about you. Will you be taking some space and time to reflect on the past and pray for the wisdom to make the right changes for the future this year?

Some of you may be familiar with the famous serenity prayer, but it is often quoted without the second verse of the prayer let me finish by sharing this with you now.

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with forever in the next.

        Amen.

Revd Angela Walker.