And here is another corner of potential building development in the parish. There have been repeated planning applications over the years relating to the farmyard site opposite St George's, Bradley, turned down each time. Meanwhile, the farm buildings there have simply been allowed to deteriorate. Recent high winds have just brought down the roof of one of the barns pictured here.
Speaking at the General Synod earlier this week, the Archbishop of Canterbury said:
We all know that perfect love casts out fear. We know it although we don’t often apply it. We mostly know that perfect fear casts out love. In any institution or organisation, the moment that suspicion reigns and the assumption that everything is zero sum becomes dominant (that is to say that some else’s gain must be my loss, we can’t both flourish) that institution will be increasingly dominated by fear...
I recently commented that where a growing church is there is usually a good incumbent. A number of people took that to mean as well that where a church is not growing it must be because there’s a bad vicar. But I didn’t say that, and neither did I mean it. I have to confess that the moment I said it I knew I had expressed myself badly, and do apologise to those hurt by the comment. But, the underlying point remains, fear leads to the assumption of denigration.
I'm glad he clarified this, and am interested that he sees the instinctive negative reaction to his original comment, which I shared, as being symptomatic of an underlying fear.
As it happens, the congregation at St Michael's, Little Coates appears to be just a little bigger than it was when I went away. I don't know what the Archbishop would make of that! Perhaps the real recipe for growth is for me to get out of the way.