Revd Gary's Pastoral Letter October 2020
Listed Under: Vicars Blog
As I write this letter to you all, I am basking in the delight in getting back into our church buildings and beginning to worship with you all again. A big thank you for all of you that made this happen. As has been spelt out before, it is worship in the new normal - whatever that means. But we have done it, we are gathering again. May be not as many times a month as we used to, but perhaps “less is going to be more” as we move forward in a number of ways in this developing new normality.
With all that is going on at the moment, with the debacle of the education results at the end of summer, the too’ing/froing of quarantine rules for travellers to different countries, the sheer amount of time it takes to fix the drainage at St Peter’s or sort the wall out at Guarlford, defining what The Rule of Six means (sounds very Apocrypha) or justifying the suspension of our mid-week service at The Orchard, I was reminded by a colleague’s “vicar’s letter” recently that , as Philosopher Friedrich Von Schlegel said, “The historian is a prophet looking backwards” and I think that rather neatly defines the problem anyone taking decisions in these uniquely uncertain times faces.
Attempting to chart a course through the uncharted waters of Covid-19 is in a sense, a “prophetic task”. We’ve never faced a global pandemic before; there’s no historical road map to fall back on and so it’s down to our elected officials to build the road. And when you’re out breaking ground in new territory, it’s inevitable you are going to get some things wrong. That’s why it’s always much easier to play the role of historian than prophet. We all can say, “I would have done it better”. But few of us actually have the courage to get up and do it.
I say all this with half an eye on one our recent bible readings, from St Paul’s letter to the Romans (in particular, chapter 12), where Paul talks about what true worship is. In the Bible, true worship isn’t just enjoying your favourite church music, nor is it Book of Common Prayer instead of our latest offering – Mass for Hard Times. Instead it’s something far more radical. It’s everyone who knows Jesus offering themselves to God as living sacrifices, saying “not my will but yours be done”, and being ready to use whatever gifts God has given us as he would have us use them. That’s true worship.
Here’s how Paul concludes his thoughts on true worship, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
So, what’s your gift?
I am looking for gifts, and it’s not yet Christmas. I am looking for people to help your church, and I am getting a bit fed up of asking.
As we approach the season of annual meetings, I am hoping that some of you reading this letter will consider how best you can use your gifts to support Your Churches. With churchwarden and other vacancies to be filled across our churches, help being needed in different quarters of church life, perhaps your time in lockdown or furlough has given you the nudge to step up to the plate. Maybe you fancy helping with producing our online services if you are a keen “youtuber”, maybe you are a dab hand at web site design. Perhaps cleaning or flower arranging is your joy. What about helping with our Open the Book story telling (when we can go back to schools, until then, be a video star….).
Your gift, if offered, will be we valued, not returned. It’s time to look forward, not back. Let’s make history.
Take care and every blessing - Rev Gary
All Souls Memorial and Remembrance opportunities - our annual Memorial Service for those members of our communities that has lost someone dear from their lives in the past year (or so) will be commemorated in two ways this year across the parishes:
St Peter's Church in Powick will open for private prayer , candle lighting and devotions at 2.30pm-4.00pm on Sunday 1st November. This is a drop in opportunity for private prayer. Numbers in the church will be capped at six at any one time inside the church. Please be patient. Please note, this is not a church service but an open time to pray and remember a loved one lost.
The Annual Memorial Service will be held via Zoom Video Conferencing at 5.30pm on Sunday 1st November. If you would like to join in this service, online, please contact Rev Gary or the Parishes' Administrator , Liz Edwards, for the joining instructions. This service is open to all - for those that are bereaved, mourning or remembering a family member or friend - in the past year or longer ago. Join us.
Remembrance Services 8th November
These will be as per the worship timetable supplied. They will be wreath laying Acts of Remembrance for our war dead and for peace in our land. There will not be formal parades nor acts of worship. For indoor memorial sites (Powick and Madresfield), attendance will have to be capped at the respective church's social distancing set capacity.
Annual Parochial Church Council Meetings
The meetings of the Parish to elect Church Wardens and to consider the report and accounts for the 2019 year will be held as follows this year to respect and adhere to Government and Church Advice, Guidance and Regulation:
Sunday 18th October - Powick Parish at St Peter's Church Powick. - as part of the Sunday worship - from 11am (the service and meeting will finish by 12.30pm)
Sunday 25th October - Guarlford, Madresfield with Newland Parish - from 12noon at Madresfield Church. the meeting will conclude by 1.00pm
Rev Gary Crellin - Chair of the Parochial Parish Councils across the Old Hills Malvern Benefice