From the Rectors Desk 22 May 2021
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
I feel like St Paul must have felt writing from prison. Longing to see his people and fellowship with them. I feel imprisoned by our circumstances which keep us apart, but I pray for you unceasingly, which is worth more than our physical connection, but still I miss you, and many of you I have not met personally yet. I am so privileged to have been given the opportunity to serve you and journey with you, I praise God for you.
I feel like Jesus must have felt when he said – “I have so much to say to you, more than you can now bear.” But I, like he, pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal all things to you and that you will come to an understanding of your faith, and your religion and your life in Christ.
I spent Monday and Tuesday with representatives of the Diocese who gathered to listen to God and to discern the best course of action for our Diocese in terms of choosing a new Bishop. There we discerned that we wait for 2022 and have the Synod of Bishops choose us a Bishop.
Now you might have had other ideas; but we must hold firm to what we believe, we believe we went to discern what the Spirit was leading us to do, and so we must not doubt, God’s hand in the process, just because the answer is confusing to us. In those two days I heard a great deal being said to the Diocese and I believe that we need to hear it, and act upon it. God said to Moses, I have heard my peoples anguish and am sending you to set them free. I believe that God has heard our anguish and that God will act, But I believe that it is our response to God will always determine our immediate outcome.
We heard five different presentations on what we are looking for in a Bishop. What we will hold a Bishop accountable for and to. My question is are we ready to allow God to lead us in those things? No one person could match the requirements expressed on Monday. But it is not a person that we are asking to do that, it is an Office. The Office is bigger than the person and the institution of Church makes it possible for the person to do more and be more than an individual could ever be. Therefore, the institution, its structures and its methodology must be functional, in order to be applied and effectively operated for the Office to be successful. We need to build the institution from Parish level up. Our Rectors and Church Wardens and Archdeaconry structures and Diocesan structures need to perform better and operate more efficiently if we want a Bishop to succeed. We need to be a Diocese that is committed to our Church and our way of being church, with the ability to build on our rich history and traditions without being stuck in them. We need to be building unity across churchmanship and race and social and economic status, we need to be prayerfully seeking Christ as the centre of our lives and living in harmony – these are things we need to do, not things a Bishop can do for us. We need to engage with our God and develop a true religion – working together sharing life together, religion is how we organise ourselves in a lifestyle of worship, being church and adhering to common ideals and practice and theology and doctrine and Acts and Rules, help us to build this unity. Liturgy is from the Greek word used, to speak of building a society.
Each of us needs to commit to building a society of believers, united and empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow Christs teaching and do his will, together. Before we can have someone to lead us in these things, we need to make ourselves leadable, committed, humble and available. We need to prepare our hearts to receive discipline, to be taught, to be led. Religion/Organised Church is not for the purpose of salvation, we are saved by faith in Jesus but, Religion/Organised Church is for the purpose of living and working together in unity for the purposes of God’s Kingdom.
Our way of being church runs deep! In order to effectively witness to the presence of God in the world, the Organised Church must function with Discipline, order and purpose. We are a Synodical Church and a voluntary Association, as members of this Church we need to commit to these things, and then we can be led by an individual set aside by God for that purpose.
Let us Pray:
Triune God, Jesus prayed that we might be one: help us to transcend our differences and find our unity in Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN.
(Collect for 6th Sunday after Easter)