Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Whilst the last number of months have been a difficult time for many, exposing threats and weaknesses, not only to health and well-being which is well and truly enough, but also to community life as we have known it in the past.
At this same time however, there are opportunities that have and continue to emerge which we may at one time have completely discounted. This has been helped by the more than average time we have had to reflect, to pause, think and ponder about what is really important to us. As Bishop Matt has called parish leadership to reflect on:
What have we been forced to do which we want to keep? What have we been forced to stop which we do not want to restart? What have we stopped that we cannot wait to restart? ” He goes on to write: “These deceptively simple questions will help us start naming the effects of this crisis as we experience them. Their answers will begin to unpick to overwhelming nature of the experience and uncover just what our possibilities may be.
From mid -October to mid -November I would like to have some conversations with small groups of people (even if we have to do it outside) and explore these questions and more as we try to find a Christ -centred faith -filled way out of this crisis.
This year, probably more than ever I have been thinking more about that challenges that early church leaders like Paul faced and realise that there have been similar challenges throughout the centuries, including our own during COVID. For apostles like Paul and indeed for us Christ calls us to follow daily. It is discerning the way that we need to find in quiet prayer, word and sharing our thoughts, hopes and vision.
May you journey well with Christ this week.
Rev Cannon Ian Howarth is the Rector of the Anglican Parish of St Paul's Kyneton and St John's Malmsbury and is the team leader of the Central Highlands Cluster.