Rev Gary’s Pastoral Letter - July

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Rev Gary’s Pastoral Letter – July 2019

Although my new gym membership has still a long way to go to get me fit enough for a 5K or 10K , I am sure I am not alone in being utterly inspired by those runners that, week in or out, engage with 5K or 10K  races for charity.  Count in that number two of my daughters that did a Colour Run for St Richard’s Hospice recently.  Yes,  they did it, and got plastered in coloured paint too for good effect. Such sponsored runs do good for charity as well as the fitness of those involved.  BBC News reported that throughout the years the London Marathon has been running, over £1 billion has been raised for charity. We are often led to believe we are living in a more selfish, self-obsessed world. Colour Runs, the London Marathon, and countless other events like it, show the goodness of people and their willingness to help others less fortunate than themselves.

The faithfulness and loyalty of our church congregations and supporters bears witness to that too. This year so far, we raised funds for Barnabas, Malvern CAP,  Send a Cow, Teams 4U, St Peter’s Hostel, Mission Morogoro -  and more such opportunities will be arranged over the coming months.  It’s good to give, love and share.

It is pertinent that, in the Bible, our life of faith is described as a race. St Paul especially talks vividly about running a race and in the Book of Hebrews we are also reminded that, as we run, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who inspire our faith. St Paul also talks about running towards the goal to win the prize. These images all suggest that our lives are a marathon not a sprint . Running some parts of a run are easier than others, while some parts are a total nightmare – so I am told (the only racing prize I have won is a second prize in a potato & spoon race – trusting me with an egg and spoon was deemed to be too risky). Some parts are exhilarating and others you just want to stop and give up.

And life can be exactly the same. But what inspires runners, cyclists, and even go-karters, is the overwhelming conviction that they need to finish the race and get the prize. It is only as the race goes on do we have the  power to press through the more painful moments – we  catch our second wind and finish the race.

It's often thought that running a race is an individual thing and that we are all in competition with those around us. Seeing my daughters run that Colour Run  paints a different picture. A community ran together to help the person in front who was struggling. Despite being exhausted, how can we help others get over the line? Not just in a Colour Run but our own personal race of life?

Are you ready to join the church’s race for survival and growth?  Can we all run together to get us all over the finishing line?  Across both parishes,  I have launched a parish review -  not a sprint but a marathon for the next year.  What can our churches do differently to make them track ready for the race ahead?  Who’s going to compete or not be selected?  What race do we want to enter?  Who’s the Coach? Who caused the false start? Does it matter?  This is a race for us all, so no need to be a spectator in the grandstand.  Get your trainers on and run with us.

We will run the race together. By doing so, it's my hope that we can cross the line together and  overcome any challenges that may lie ahead.  Ready, Steady…. Go….

Best wishes 

Rev Gary