This piece of writing reflects on my time as vicar of Dry Drayton Church in the Lordsbridge Team of Churches at the point of my leaving after 11 years to take up a new post as Warden of Launde Abbey.It was preached at a service there on 12th September2021.
The last version of Dry Drayton church’s development action plan was headed with these words: “We give thanks to God always for all of you,… remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3). It has seemed to me that it is not just the character of the ancient church community of Thessalonica but the character of this church community that can be described by phrases like these: work of faith, labour of love, and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Now hold that thought and we will come back to it.
These reflections tell some of the stories of the Lordsbridge Team of Churches since its beginning 11 years ago, the point at which I joined it.At this united Lordsbridge Team service, on 29th August 2021, members of the Lordsbridge Team of Churches gathered to celebrate my ministry across the Lordsbridge benefice and to release me as Team Rector in preparation for my taking up a new post as Warden of Launde Abbey.
The bible reading for the service was Luke 10: 1 -9. You can read it here.
Jesus sent them out into the towns and villages, to every place where he was about to go. He sent them to lay the groundwork, to open the doors, to create the networks and partnerships with people of peace, to say to those who had ears to hear, ‘The kingdom of God has come near’.
From Revd David Newton, Team Vicar in the Lordsbridge Team:
Last weekend ordinations took place across the country. From the Lordsbridge Team of Churches 3 people were ordained deacon. Amy Bland was ordained in Blackburn, Adam Roebuck (who had been on placement with Haslingfield and Comberton) was meant to be ordained in York (delayed to this coming week due to Contact Tracing Isolation), and Chris Westgarth was ordained in Ely!
Growing up in my family we were expected to start the painful work of writing thank you letters the day after Boxing Day. In my husband’s family thank you’s were, and are, always expressed in person or on the phone.
Perhaps it is because I have reached, dare I say it, mid-life. Or perhaps it is because of the year or so that we have just had and our still fragile hope for being now beyond it. Either way, I find that I have been pondering whether the underlying pattern of life is experienced more as a series of losses only or as series of deaths and associated re-births. In more positive and complacent phases of life, I have focused on the gifts-received side of life. But this year, loss of various kinds is more front and centre for all of us.
Depending on your era, some of you may remember the tune from a TV series in the late 1960s or early 70s, others more recognise it more recently from the Tom Cruise films – another one is due out soon, I understand.
Of course it is the theme of ‘Mission Impossible’- stories about secret agents given a, so called, impossible mission full of dangerous risks to rescue the world, or some part of it. That tune goes with the phrase used at the start of every story ‘this is your mission, should you choose to accept it’.
In the seasons of the Christian year, last Sunday was the Feast of Pentecost and I was surprised to find that last Monday was noted in my Google calendar as Whit Monday. Whitsun is an older name for Pentecost and until 1972 what is now the Spring Bank holiday fixed at the end of May was instead a holiday taken on Whit Monday.
Revd Priscilla Slusar, Rural Dean and ‘Lordsbridge Support Minister’, writes:
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have designated the time between Ascension Day and Pentecost as a time for focused prayer. This programme of prayer is called Thy Kingdom Come; it starts on Thursday 13th May and finishes on Sunday 23rd May.
The Church of England has provided a variety of resources to support our prayers at this time, and we have prepared some additional ideas in the Lordsbridge Team. There will be a daily podcast on the website using the Psalms as the basis for prayer and reflection. Although the psalms are ancient Hebrew poetry, they have great resonance today. They speak out of and into genuine experience. They remind us that human concerns and emotions do not change over time. The psalmist expresses joy and wonder, but also feelings of anger and frustration. When life is difficult the psalmist may feel that God is not listening – there are times in life when we may feel the same!
As we move out of lockdown and look forward to a more hopeful future we can offer prayers of thanks and praise to God. But we are also aware that many people have faced considerable distress over the last year and in some areas of the world, like India, that suffering is continuing. Let us use this period of focused prayer to present all our concerns and emotions to God and trust in God to hear and support us. I hope that this period of prayer will enrich your life and your relationship with God.
This walk will be on Friday 21 May. Bishop Dagmar (Bishop of Huntingdon) will be joining the group. The Pilgrimage will start at Coton at 7.30am. Please feel free to join later or leave at any time. It is important that you let John Harding know if you are planning to start at Coton (so they don’t leave without you). Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or let John and Clare Crang know. Lunch will be a thirty minute break at Caldecote – please bring your own provisions.