Revd Gary's Pastoral letter July/August 2021

Listed Under: Vicars Blog

The Vicar writes                                                                Pastoral Letter July/August 2021               

Well, not unsurprisingly, the Government Roadmap easing has been put back on hold because of the prevalence of the “Delta” variant and the real need to push on with the vaccination programme.  So, rather than the Freedom BBQ, or group picnic on the Old Hills, we do need to continue to take care.    Please, though, do what you can to support our local pubs, social clubs and restaurants - they do need our help.

Do you feel that our communities need transforming?  Such talk of going back to normal - I do hope not.  That’s not meant to be too provocative, but with the Genie out of the Bottle, we need to find ways of living with Covid type infections moving forward and not expect to return to our old ways.  Are people still being as helpful to those in need as they were earlier in the pandemic?  Is it right to stay as we were or learn the lessons of the pandemic and evolve as a church or indeed as a local community?

The Church locally is looking to transform rather than carry on as we have done before.  Transformation. Look it up in a dictionary and see if you feel it applies to our church or other communities. I have instigated wide ranging look at our Churches by a group chaired by Vicky Whitehouse. This group will report into each Church Council and is composed of church and non-church goers alike from across our villages. If you want to get involved in some of the groups that are emerging, get in touch.  We are looking at the future of our buildings, our churchyards, our presence, our mission and worship.  I hope that they will be inspired by one of my favourite Children’s stories -The Hungry Caterpillar.

The caterpillar eats and eats. This could represent the old way of doing things - say during the pre- pandemic era (PPE). Although with good intentions, this could be anything we have placed a disproportionate amount of time and energy on to ensure the smooth operation of ways or behaviours that perpetuate the Me Me Me of society rather than how can we Love Our Neighbour and care for one another.  We love to gorge, don’t we?  Let’s use our time as a caterpillar to rejoice, explore Christ and pray, make our mission one to help others, continuing to worship or giving thanks to God by necessity not by excuse.  I know sometimes we eat the wrong leaves, and “gardeners” get irritated by caterpillars and try to eradicate them, but this caterpillar isn’t going anywhere-yet.

The chrysalis – Think of the Chrysalis as a protected place to grow – and change, safely: A God given moment for us to evolve and emerge with a renewed heavenly vision for our churches and maybe the villages too. This pandemic has stripped us of many things we took for granted, including those we perhaps thought indispensable.   We have settled on other ways of doing things - the development of online shopping or even Churchless Worshipping rather than gathering together. In this transformational sense, God is refining us so we can be ready for the harvest in the next season. Now is the time for us all to prayerfully discern where God is calling to us to be and join in.  For those of you reading this in Powick or Callow End, why haven’t you engaged with the Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Development Plan Questionnaire?  Also, this is a time to rest and recharge - so enjoy if you can the forthcoming holiday season. And for our Year 6 school leavers from Madresfield, Powick and Callow End - look forward to your new school after emerging from your holiday chrysalis in September! 

When a caterpillar has finally transformed and is ready to come out of the chrysalis as a butterfly, the transformed body allows the butterfly to fly and see things more clearly from a new higher perspective. It is able to reach further and take on new ground; to fulfil its purpose in a new season. To drink the nectar of life in all its fullness.  Also, with the extraordinary form and colours of the butterfly, it is very hard not to take notice. Can we be like that?   What will Your Churches look and feel like in the Future?  Crucially, what will our villages be like too - insular or engaging?  I am talking about the church as well as community here. What if we come out like a Moth? Beautiful and purposeful, still.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.          1 Thessalonians 5:16-18                                                                                   

Let's be patient in this season of transformation and actively and humbly engage with it.  Have a great summer - Rev Gary


School Bible Fund

There is still time to donate to a new annual donation opportunity.  I would like to continue the tradition of giving a signed Bible to each Y6 school leaver from our Church of England Primary Schools - to commemorate and celebrate their time in their school at Powick, Callow End or Madresfield - and the hope for a continual presence of Church and Christ in their lives.  Fundraising has been impossible over the last year.  For £12, you could help.  Look for the JustGiving page on line or send a cheque or cash in to the vicarage.  Thank you for your help.  Let’s put it this way, it’s a tall order - a notional target of £500 was set via Just Giving, less than a £100 has been so far raised.