Pastoral Letter

June Pastoral Letter from Fr Clive

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As Pentecost and Trinity Sunday approach, we find ourselves in transitional times, away from the seasons elated to Jesus’ birth, passion, death and resurrection into nineteen weeks of ‘Ordinary Time.’  Leaden as that might sound, as we don green vestments I ponder the thought that there seem to be more different shades of that colour than any of the others.  So, maybe this is the right season to contemplate the diverse characteristics and implications of our faith.

At Pentecost, we celebrate the light of Christ that continues to burn within us.  I certainly do not believe that the activities of the Holy Spirit are confined to the Church.  Indeed, I would join with the Psalmist in proclaiming that all of creation responds to the divine presence.  With all of creation groaning at the degradation brought about through human activity, surely all those voices of protest are being guided by the Spirit.  Let us rejoice in that growing response and maybe feel somewhat humbled that the Church has not been at the forefront of moves to protect God’s creation. 

Trinity Sunday takes us to the mysterious heart of God – holy, glorious, creative and dynamic.  Let us put aside all those complex theological explanations and just relax with the assurance that we are called to join in what some have termed the dance of the Trinitarian community.  There we can experience the divine love that flows between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and follow the call to share that love in the world community.  Underlying everything there is a diversity that, maybe paradoxically, is calling us into unity. 

This month will also mark a transitional time in my ministry as the Church of England deems it unwise for clergy to remain in titled posts after the age of 70.  While most of us find this a rather low threshold for the 21st century, I have been around long enough to know of the problems that arose when there was no upper age limit!  So, fifteen years after becoming an ‘Assistant Curate’ at St Mary’s, I will be joining the ranks of those with ‘Permission to Officiate’.  In practical terms, it means that I will be less involved in the day-to-day activities and direction of the church.  Alongside that, it allows me to focus more on concerns I feel most passionately about and to make myself available to other parishes. 

Daily we are reminded of the challenging times in which we live.  The world is facing an environmental crisis and many nations are afflicted by warfare, injustice and poverty.  Our nation is more divided than I can ever recall and local communities are facing troubles on many fronts.  But let us not forget that we come as people of hope.  Let our voice of peace, justice and reconciliation be heard.  Let us pray for the grace to be confident in that message and ask for the Spirit’s guidance as we journey on.  Let us reach out to share God’s love with this and future generations.

Fr Clive