Greg’s Reflection – October 2017
As I write this reflection I am conscious that I am leaving All Saints Church and my visits to Earls Barton will then become few and far between. I have been Curate here for just over two years and though only a short time, it has been an important and formative part of my faith journey and I am grateful to all those who have been a part of this.
I will be sad to leave, but the nature of ordained ministry is that we seek to further the Kingdom of God in every generation and in every place, and so my moving away is a chance to refresh and renew. Others will grow and develop in the space I have left, individuals with energy and enthusiasm, faith and ideas, just as I seek to bring these qualities to a new parish in Northampton.
So my first thought is to pray for and encourage everyone involved with God’s work in the village, at All Saints and indeed in the other churches here. In coming together regularly to witness to our faith in the same Lord and Saviour, I have been particularly struck by the extent of ecumenical support and cooperation and I pray that this continues to flourish.
My second thought is for the village and its people. A village is different from a town, it has a sense of community and identity that is distinct but always developing. The provision of new housing brings change and challenge to that community. So our understanding of ‘who is my neighbour?’ will similarly need to expand and embrace all those who make this place their home.
Before coming here I knew Earls Barton as a place to visit, for its historic church and for the Carols in the Square. Yet it has to be so much more than that for the people living here and especially newcomers. It is all too easy to restrict our circle of friends and acquaintances but we all have to make an effort to reach out to others, and especially so in a village.
So I hope and pray that everyone here can be made to feel as welcome and loved as I have been and that this village, with its iconic church at its physical and spiritual heart, will continue to demonstrate all that is best about community.
Miranda’s September Reflection
As I write this, I’m wearing a thick fleece, the rain is pouring down, and there’s no immediate hope of any change! Nevertheless, despite the weather, there will have been a different rhythm to August for many of you: fewer fixed timings, more relaxed routines, perhaps some time away, or visits to friends and family. Now, in September, schools will go back, clubs resume, the old rhythms will be picked up, and life will get back to normal………………………
If we take a step back, though, we can see that breaks in our routine are part of a wider pattern: one that gives shape to our year. At one time, when we were much more closely intertwined with the agricultural year, schools broke up to enable the young to help bring in the harvest. We would have been only too aware of the impact of the weather on how much we would have to eat in the coming months. Nowadays, in this wealthy country, we take plentiful food for granted; forget that for many the weather continues to have a huge impact on its availability; and, as we know, weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable – as I look at the rain, others are suffering from dangerously hot weather in Italy and the Balkans.
Certainly, the climate is changing and, whatever we believe about the causes, these changes are real and the consequences ever more obvious. Around the world we are seeing an escalating frequency of extreme weather, with devastating consequences for huge numbers of people. As we are quite rightly told, we have a responsibility to future generations and our behaviour undoubtedly has an impact on the climate.
It would be entirely wrong, though, to only think about the future: we have a responsibility to this generation, too. There are millions across the world who are starving today – perhaps because of climate change, perhaps because of human greed, violent struggles for power, or any combination of these.
On 28th September, at 10am, we hold our All-Age Harvest Festival Service, and this will be an opportunity to give thanks for all that we enjoy, but also an opportunity to commit ourselves to a just world, where all share equally in the bounty of the earth, all respect creation, and all work together for the benefit of this and future generations.
Meet for Brunch 1st October
What about coming along to the Parish Hall on the 1st October, some time between 11am and 12.30pm? Everyone is welcome, and you’ll enjoy it – who wouldn’t when there are bacon rolls!
It’ll be an informal opportunity for all ages to meet with friends over Brunch (including those bacon rolls and vegetarian options), to relax, chat, and maybe discuss a current issue if you want to – not to put anyone straight, but to share thoughts, knowledge, experience. There’s no pressure, no wrong question, almost certainly no one right answer, either!
It seems to me to be vitally important that we listen to the views and opinions of others, to be willing to develop our understanding, to share insights and wisdom. It can be all too easy to have a view on a subject, and stop thinking, be content that we know what’s right and what’s wrong. In reality, though, it’s difficult to have a true picture of an issue if we only hear our own voice, and the voices of those who agree with us.
We’ve had some really good conversations about social media, family, and relationships over recent months, and our understandings and knowledge has been developed and expanded.
Of course, you don’t have to join in with any of that if you don’t want to – just come along, enjoy the food, the company, and the space and time to relax. Everyone of any age is welcome – children can sit with parents and carers, run about, or join in with their own activities.
Keep an eye open, too, for news of an Alpha course taking place this autumn – a great way to explore and/or re-discover your relationship with God.