May 1, 2015

Freddy's May Letter

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Category: General
Posted by: suzi hedgecock

A big "thank you" to everyone who came to the Eucharist on Easter Day and especially to all who bought and brought flowers to adorn our ancient church with colour and beauty. It was indeed glorious to behold!

To share in the Eucharist, the Holy Communion, on Easter Day is a wonderful thing. Not only Easter Day, but any day. It's to know that we are always "guests" at the Jesus meal - we are always welcome and wanted. It's as simple as that. At every Eucharist, whether it be the "Fresh Expression" of it or the standard, traditional expression of it, at every Holy Communion, Jesus tells us he wants our company!

It's for this "request" of our Lord and other things that we've marked Easter, this year, as the beginning of a time of RENEWAL. We want others to hear what we hear - "You are Welcome".

To help us begin this time of renewal in our faith, our Bishop, Robert of Exeter, the cheif shepherd of the Devon Flock, has given us what one might call an 'agenda'. And that is in this order:-

1. To grow deeper in Prayer
2. To grow in numbers, to make new disciples.
3. To serve our local community with Joy: to serve the people of Devon with joy.

The implications of his agenda and how we are going to respond to it - I, with others, have started to think deeply about it, and we will be able to say more about it in time.

The discipleship question is the critical question facing the church in western culture. It's an unanswered question because we are in new territory. The cultural shift we have been living through, has put new questions to our familiar patterns of Christian life. We are dealing with the "never churched" and the "de-churched" - we live in an extraordinary time in the Western world, when church attendances are diminishing but spiritual hunger is rising!

It is to the questions that arise from this fact of life that we hope to respond. But the question of the shape of Christian living in the 21st Century, cannot be answered by deciding who publishes the best Alpha course, or Emmaus course or Pilgrim course. I know these have been successful with some people in the past, but we may have moved on from that and "seekers" and "searchers" want something other than a "taught" set of beliefs.

We do not yet know how best to sustain authentic Christian living here. It's like a jigsaw; we have some pieces but don't have the picture - so not quite sure which are missing! Some pieces are essential, irrespective of the culture - without scripture, prayer, baptism and Eucharist there will be no authentic Christianity and therefore no renewal.

I have put a "prayer for renewal" card in the pews in church. Please take one and pray it. We shall say it every Sunday. Please want this renewal for our parishes with all your heart and it will happen. And if you want to be more involved with it and help - please tell me.

Father Freddy

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