Magazine Leader- Dec 2012

From the Vicar

This is the first of what will be many letters from me as your new Vicar. We have just about managed with the move. I can see why moving is described as one of the most stressful things you can do. What has eased things has been the wonderfully warm welcome Jane and I have received from all those we have met. Thank you for that. It is much appreciated. I am very grateful to all who have done so much in the vacancy to keep St John's going as a lively and vibrant church. It is always the case that the church is much more than the clergy. How the whole company of the baptised lives and works together is what defines a church. The clergy are there to help the church be the church in any given place. Which is why to ask whether I will do things very differently is the wrong question. All of you who regularly worship at St John's are part of the family of St John's, each with your own stories, your own gifts and your own spirituality. All of that adds up to define the character and the ethos of
St John's. What I hope I can be is someone who can walk alongside you for the next few years, as I listen to your stories, pray for you and, I hope, ask the right questions as to what God wants of us here in Broadstone. By chance, the Bishop of Salisbury has just launched his 'Let Us Talk' program to help parishes identify their priorities for the future. It is my hope that we will be able to use this program to engender conversations with one another in our parish. Then, perhaps after Easter, we can sit down together to discern how God wants us to grow and evolve into the future.

Advent is a special time of expectancy and longing, which can so easily be eclipsed by the early celebration of Christmas. Yet it is important to remember that we are called to be 'Advent People'. To live in the expectant hope that God can and will act to transform the things of this life puts us in a place in which we are open to his Spirit and ready to welcome the Christ-child into our hearts. Christmas then becomes, not just a remembrance of a birth that once happened, but the celebration of a new life which comes to birth in this present moment as we discover and live out the life of the risen Christ.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make my licensing such a great evening. Jane and I were deeply moved by such a wonderful welcome and it was a splendid occasion. It seems to have been quite a wait, but it is great that my ministry with you has finally arrived and I relish the prospect of getting to know you all over the coming months and to sharing Christmas with you.

With every blessing

Nigel


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