Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rector's View - June 2017

Dear Friends

Summer welcomes us to explore our great outdoors once more, to venture beyond the usual haunts of dog walks and well-trodden pathways. As you perhaps look forward to journeys afar, do enjoy our open-garden season (11th June Ousden, 24th June Cowlinge), fetes (22nd July Stansfield) and carnivals (8th July Wickhambrook), as well look out for our churchyard paths - labyrinths at Wickambrook and Stansfield (and the Cathedral Labyrinth, Exploring Prayer Day 1st June).

The Church's Festivals of Pentecost and Trinity explore spiritual insight, guidance and revelation in every age. The creation story of Genesis reminds us to fulfil our purpose to steward earth's garden paradise, and increasingly we are becoming alert to the damage we are inflicting on our environment. Our combined attrition on our world's resources seems unstoppable yet take example from the visionaries of our day, we can change, and we can amend our ways. I was inspired by a recent broadcast which looked at humankind's impact on the environment from space, and the disappearing snow and ice fields of Mount Kilimanjaro. A local runner trains on the slopes of this mountain, and where once he would run through rivers and streams, as the forests around the mountain have been cut down, so the streams and rivers have slowed and dried as the ice and snows of the mountain top disappear. And yet, thanks to the vision of a local diocese, whose bishop leads regular pilgrimages of his flock into the cleared fields to plant trees, local streams have begun to run again.

Here we have a story of hope, one visionary action can inspire and lead us to change our course. The story of Pentecost, inspired those who had followed Jesus and witnessed His crucifixion to live His risen life, and the good news of new life in Christ has been broadcast throughout all the world.

We can change, we can look to life in all its fullness, the lesson of Creation's story revealing God's blessing in creation. Be refreshed in these blessed days of summer, and be inspired to believe we can change direction and become good stewards of this garden earth.

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Monday, May 1, 2017

Rector's View - May 2017

Dear friends,

Our Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is inviting Christians around the world to pray as one for people to know Jesus Christ, you might like to check out ideas for this wave of prayer through using the link above. One interesting question on the webpage asks "How do you talk to God? Do you find somewhere quiet and private and whisper, or do you climb a mountain and shout into the clouds?"

May's celebration of Ascension might be encouragement to us to shout into the clouds! And ongoing crises, international tensions, our incapacity to secure peace, care for our world or feed our poor, gives us plenty to rail against. Yet whilst the direction of our prayer is indeed Godward, it is we who speak the prayer and if we don't pray we are not in touch with our own wants or needs nor able to do for others as we would have them to for ourselves, that golden rule of Christian discipleship. As God surely hears us, so should we listen to what we say and in speaking of our hopes, in speaking of our thanks, we, in God given grace, find strength to make our prayer a reality both for ourselves and for others.

The daily prayer of Christian discipleship as the text of our website link is derived from Jesus' Judaic heritage, the Kaddish prayer, "May He establish His Kingdom during your life and during your days, and during the life of the whole household of Israel, even speedily and in a near time!" Attentive to Jesus' call on His disciples to be doers of His Word and teachings, we might helpfully add – the Kingdom at your hand and at mine, quickly and speedily may it come". So our prayer helps us to realise that hope, God's Kingdom come in our day, even at our hand. Voicing that prayer we determine with God's help to make it real, a kingdom of peace and justice for all, for the blessing of this world's poor.

Do join our global wave of prayer however you feel able from this Ascension Day, 25th May.

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Friday, March 31, 2017

Rector's View - April 2017

Dear friends,

Mothering Sunday, Palm Sunday through Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter offers every good reason to join in and share the passion, the drama and renewal of the Christian Hope.

Jesus calls on all peoples, all of us God's children, to hear His living word of Hope risen again, whatever dark shadows may hinder our steps, His light rising over the near horizon lifts the spirit and warms the heart to find hope in our need, and His healing of renewal within the fold of His people.

A warm welcome awaits all who would join our worship at this time, whether to delight in Mothering or Mother Church, to process in the unfolding drama of the Passion or to share the rejoicing of all things Easter Morn, to hear again the cry of joy:-

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

No longer do we need to stumble on alone in our darkness, by Christ's Spirit we may find strength to race toward the dawning light to brighten our lives amidst Creation's garden and know fullness of life.

This gift of grace we share, that others too may find hope.

Please remember this world’s poor, the hungry the homeless, the grieving, not only by your prayer, but also by deeds of compassion and charity.

And a Blessed Easter to all.

Yours in Christ.

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Rector's View - March 2017

Dear friends,

March brings anticipation of Easter's new beginning by this season's lengthening days, so named Lent. Today's consumer society knows little of preparation when everything can be sourced from your local convenience store, yet ensuring this daily 24/7 supply still requires planning and preparation. With ‘disposable incomes’ still in evidence amidst our high streets, clearly the thought of doing without so that everyone may share all the more in the feast day to come, is counter cultural.

Even the Church in her Lenten preparation for the Easter Festival to come, prefers these days the more culturally normative ‘taking up’ of some personal challenge. Giving up our indulgences to make room for that truly personal journey of finding value in our faith is often dismissed, and so we lose something of promoting community life in bearing the suffering of the life in whom is our faith, our Christ. Our Christ called us to follow, in discipline, discipleship, putting aside all things by which we fall short of the mark, another counter-cultural term - sin. By acknowledging our falling short, our sin, we are able to turn our lives around, being penitent, to follow the one who bore the marks of suffering for our new start, our redemption.

None of us enjoys confessing our falling short, this is a society all about proclaiming our strengths, we are selective even to the extent of a few ‘alternative facts’ about our job histories and careers, after all who will employ someone who talks about their mistakes.

Well the Easter story is all about the love of our heavenly Father, to call out to us again and again, and when we find strength to speak of our mistakes, will speak to us in the living Word of His Son, that we in Him may live anew. The heavenly Father's forgiveness is 24/7, prepared and planned in the story of Jesus' "forty day" wilderness journey against this world's temptations. However unfashionable or even unfathomable to the modern ear is our calling to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the course of our own forty days. No flowers then decorate the church, chocolate, alcohol, sweets, indulgences set aside, fast days – Ash Wednesday, Fridays, Good Friday - study, good works taken on. So as winter's bare field, as the plough may turn the soil, we turn our lives bare, that the Son's lengthening days may warm our hearts, to share the good of this life with all people, as is our loving Father's purpose in creation, fullness of life.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Rector's View - February 2017

Dear friends,

Amidst all the uncertainties of our changing world, European and Transatlantic alliances undermined and under threat, we look for surety and trust in all that is familiar and known to us.

The story of our faith has ever sought to remind creation's children of the Creator's sure and loving purposes for us. That whatever the uncertainties and trials of the day to day, creation provides of her plenty and of her good, where we match our work to her trust.

The raging of winter's storms abates, and in the sunburst's calming display we look to returning days of promise ahead, that we may regroup and defend against all that the winter's shock has undermined and destroyed.

God's promise to us in scripture, as in creation's turning of the seasons, is ever to call us back to His loving purpose, whatever storms undermine our sureties and trusts, God waits on our return, His love rises amidst the winter of our hearts in sending us the risen life of His Son, our teacher, our Salvation, our Christ.

The Good News of our Gospel has recounted the wilderness call to renewal made by John the Baptist. In his day the people looked to restore the golden age of days long past, John's teaching caught the mood of the people looking for their new day, yet he chose to redirect their search to one in whom his trust was sure.

Jesus asked those who looked his way "what are you looking for". Just as we question our sureties and trusts realizing our need for wisdom and teaching, we, as Jesus' first disciples, are invited to "come and see" and follow Jesus' word through the momentum of this unfolding year.

The lesson of Jesus' teaching is that in Him we can rebuild our lives and look to that fullness of life which is God's promise. The disciples trusted to Jesus' call, as still by the discipleship of our baptism and confirmation we may find our hope of new beginning, trusting to the work of our faith, that we may be blessed to grow in knowledge and love of God.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rector's View - January 2017

Dear friends,

At the turning of the year we raise our thoughts to new beginnings, a new diary and a new page, unsullied and pristine, nothing missed or passed by. The tattered pages of last year's diary though, before being stored away, can offer guidance to the coming year and help us set our course.

The calendar of our Church's year too encourages us to review as we hear afresh the story of God's love through the pages of scripture and the lives of the Saints.

Our television screens also seem awash with reviews of the year applauding the achievements of the great and the good. And among the festivals of the Saints which saw out our year we have the lesson at the close of St John's Gospel that should all the things Jesus did be written down, the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. So we who follow Christ are encouraged to enliven His coming among us in the living pages of our lives.

The festival of St John is set between the commemoration of the martyrdom of St Stephen and that of the Holy Innocents, and we are reminded that whilst we review the lives of the great and good they too as we, are amidst a world of great trial and suffering. God set the course of His love in Jesus into this world, and asks that we who follow Jesus’ Gospel enliven Christ's love that our lives be among the good news of Jesus’ living. This may mean being prepared to turn the pages of our lives to new beginnings or offering again our friendship to those missed or passed by.

New Year's day marks the naming of Jesus, the name given Joseph by the angel bearing God's Word as Joseph dreams "You shall name him Jesus, for he will save his people."

May our dreams this New Year bear the name of our Christ that we become part of the unfolding story of God's saving love for all peoples.

Yours in Christ

Rev'd Brin Singleton

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rector's View - December 2016

Dear friends,

Another year of crises and the principalities of this age continue to raise turbulent echoes to advent journeys of long ago. Still we hear biblical narrative translated into today’s reports of displaced persons.

Here an abridged BBC report on the migrant crises:-

"The authorities have detailed plans to compel the dispersal of the populace to orientation centres for the processing of applications.

Across the country orientation centres have been created: in former barracks, disused hospitals and training-centres, and of out-of-season holiday villages, those who say they have family there are expected to go.

The planning is thorough, the intentions are good, but there are many imponderables".

And from the biblical text:-

"And in those days a decree went out that all the world should be registered. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also, … He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn".

So we might ponder on those born in today's travail, whether they may offer the world hope of such peace and salvation as raised light that first advent.

And as we rehearse again our Saviour's birth, might we ponder such journeys as we have faced at the compulsion of this world, to whom did we turn, for compassion mercy and lodging.

And to a world beset with rival claims to sovereignty authority and power may we uphold the light of those rulers truly wise, who seek to offer gifts of sacrificial service and of loyalty to the healing of division.

May this world be blessed by the gift of God's Love.

Grace and Peace be yours this Christmas.

Rev'd Brin Singleton