Rector's Monthly Letter June 2018

Dear Friends

‘By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.’ Hebrews 11:8

I don’t think I ever expected to be able to return to the parishes where I started out in Ordained Ministry 15 years ago but I’m very glad that it has ended up this way. When I started my training in 2001 a friend pointed out to me the above verse from the Bible. It has been an on-going encouragement over the years for it certainly feels like we’ve been on the road since that time. Leaving Heanton and Marwood in 2008 was difficult for my family and me. It would have been comfortable for us to have stayed but that option wasn’t open to us. On reflection though, stepping outside of our comfort zone has been necessary for our personal growth and to prepare us for the times ahead. We have learned much in our travels, most notably that God can be trusted. We can point to many occasions where He has helped us, protected us (not least from ourselves), taught us and led us. We are particularly grateful for the people we have met along the way. We are the richer for having known them and I hope that in some way we have also contributed to their lives.

Claire and I feel that we are coming home but we recognise that we are returning to an entirely different situation than the one we left. Like us, you as churches have also have moved on and together, we face further change in order to be true to what God is asking of us. There are two particular areas in which I feel we will need to concentrate. The first is about enabling the relationship between the churches of the different villages in our new mission community and the second is enabling our church to be a genuine sign of hope in the wider world.

I pray that my own experiences of dealing with uncertainty and change will be valuable as we seek God together in learning his way forward for our churches in the months and years ahead. Claire and I are ready to travel with you for the long haul and we both believe that it is the long haul that God asks of us.

Steve