Thursday, 24 July 2008


I suspect the parish begins the school summer holiday in much the same state as most teachers - ready to collapse on the finishing tape and hoping not to be asked to do anything more for quite a while.

At the most recent joint meeting of our three District Church Councils, voices were raised to say that some people are exhausted and some others want the freedom to come to worship without feeling they have to staff some aspect of the service every time. I’ve been aware for some time that we are trying to maintain structures which are more appropriate for a parish with much greater resources (and three District Church Councils is just on example). I’ve also been aware just how hard it is on people when great efforts to do well the things which produced results in, say, the 1970s doesn’t seem to produce them now.

The small community at St Michael’s has lost two very active members to cancer since Christmas and can hardly believe that it has now just heard that a third has been diagnosed. The small community at St Nicolas’ is getting used to having the Vicarage next door empty since the retirement of a Team Vicar last month and is contending with a certain level of gossip about numbers and the future. I’ve no idea whether the constant media impression that the Anglican church is imploding contributes as well. There is much which is creative and encouraging, but it does feel as if we all need a break.

I seem to have lost the dog eared piece of paper which I’ve had tucked away in my intercessions diary for several years and which has helped in these sorts of circumstances in the past. The Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool quite suddenly took sabbatical leave and wrote that when it got to the point when he felt it all depended on him then he knew he wasn’t being much use as a Bishop. A burdened Bishop, he said, is a liability, and things only work when we trust that God in fact provides all that is really needed to do what needs to be done.

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