Magazine Leader - June 2013

From the Vicar

June 2013

The Plant Sale was a great event. Not only was it good to welcome so many people into our church hall for a frenzy of plant buying, it also raised a good sum in support of the work of the church. Yet it represented more than that. For months many people had worked hard to tend their plants and nurture them so that they were ready for the great sale. Despite the odds, which included fewer greenhouses and really bad weather, many plants made it to the sale and the whole thing came together in a glorious way. I want to pay tribute to Marion Marsh for her leadership in this project. Without her hard work and leadership, the whole thing would not have come together in the way in which it did. The downside of that is that she is not able to give that amount of time next year, so without a new leader this will have been both the 30

th Annual Plant Sale and the last. It raises questions as to how we do things in the future. It is more than just raising money for our church, important though that is. How we live our lives together creates an ambience in our Church which is very much part of what it means to witness to the love of God in the world. The Plant Sale, and other social events that we hold, are very important in the building up of the Body of Christ at St John’s and I am grateful to all who share in this, including the Events Committee, the St John’s Fellowship, Messy Church and so many other such activities. Maybe the Plant Sale is too much work over too long a period each year. However it would be possible to hold another one next year (maybe in a different format) if a group of people came together and shared the responsibility of putting it on. I know Marion would be delighted to belong to such a group, but not to lead it. Is there a group of you who would take this on?

We might use the question of how we can put on another plant sale as a parable about how we pray together. Much of the leading of public prayer in our church falls on my shoulders. That is something that is a privilege and a joy to do. What is more, it is great to have a dedicated team of Lay Pastoral Assistants who share with me in visiting and also taking the Sacrament to people in their own homes. It is not a matter of saying that I need the help. Rather, it stems from a vision that all ministry belongs to Christ and that ministry is bestowed on the whole company of the baptized. By virtue of our baptisms we are drawn into the community of the church and how we live out our lives has a direct connection with how we share together in exercising the ministry of Christ for a broken and wounded world. So it is important to me that our LPAs share with me in such a ministry. Yet it raises the question as to how our whole church can be part of Christ’s ministry and both feel included in it and empowered to engage in it. A starting point is prayer. How we pray together, and pray for one another, is a key foundation stone for the whole of our life together. Having been here for six months, I am not proposing radical changes to the way in which we worship and pray together, but I do want to ask the question: What forms of worship and prayer (and indeed at what times) most fully binds us together into a community which is both united in prayer and inclusive in the welcome it gives to others? I shall want the Worship Committee to look at this question. However it is a question which affects us all. It really does not work for

me to set a pattern and a style of worship and then ask for your support. Worship is a shared thing and the real question is how we can live as a community which is committed to growing together through prayer and worship. In 1980 the Church of England dropped the word ‘celebrant’ for the priest at the altar and used instead the word ‘president’. Although some people have criticised the word ‘president’ as being too grand, the world actually means what it says it means. The president is one who presides over a community at worship. The whole community is the celebrant as it shares in an offering of joyful thanksgiving for all God’s grace and mercy. So, even deeper than the question of how we pray together, lies the question of how we celebrate Life together. That can then be expressed through a shared life of worship and prayer.

Nigel LLoyd

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