I believe in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We say these words every Sunday, yet what are we assenting to? To say ‘I believe in the Church’ is to affirm our belief in community as the means of mediating God’s goodness, his grace. Bishop Sarah, our new Bishop of London, talks of the importance of connectivity, as a means of communicating God’s loving purpose. To recognise that we belong is vital. It is only in community and through the connections we make that we grow into the full stature of the children of God, we do so through encounter and conversation – good and bad. It’s not so much ‘I think, therefore I am’, but ‘I belong therefore I am.’ There is a humility required for a mature belonging, we are not the centre of the universe and so our decisions and relationships must reflect this fact. To belong is to recognise the other, the stranger in our midst. It is to recognise our responsibility for making the whole good. We all have something to contribute and we all have a responsibility to uphold the whole. Perhaps the Church has something to teach society.
Please come along to our flower and music festival weekend. We have amazing floral creations designed by our very own church flower team. Great music, wonderful food and, if it floats your boat, you can watch the Royal Wedding in the splendour of St Nicholas Church. It’s going to be an amazing weekend. See you there!
It was a great privilege and joy to be in St Paul’s cathedral last Saturday for the historic occasion of the Installation of Bishop Sarah, the first female Bishop of London. Not surprisingly, the cathedral was packed – there were bishops and clergy from all over the country, and leaders of a range of faiths and traditions. The service was conducted with great dignity by Dean Ison, the intercessions were led by a group of young people from across the diocese, and the music and singing were wonderful. I quote below a couple of brief extracts from Bishop Sarah’s sermon:
At my consecration as a bishop on the feast of Mary Magdalene, the Bishop of Stepney, Bishop Adrian, preached and encouraged both Bishop Rachel and me to socialize and subvert. He reminded us then that Jesus chooses outsiders not so much as to disturb the comfortable, but to disturb the conventional, and that it is through the disturbance of people like Mary Magdalene that we learn to see the world and God afresh. I recognize that because of who I am, not just because of my gender, my appointment holds the opportunity to see the world, London, God and His church differently….
At the heart of Christianity is a relationship. Not a project or a structure or a theological debate but a relationship, a being known by name. As Mary stood weeping at the tomb it was only when Jesus called her by name ’Mary’ that she recognized him….. And how should we establish such relationships? With compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience; bearing with one another, forgiving one another and above all clothed with love which binds everything together in unity. This is not about being nice or ‘soft’, it isn’t about avoiding conflict and it will require sacrifice. To act with compassion requires us to be with and alongside people so we can be aware of their need, and act, to challenge injustice and inequality.
You can read the whole of her sermon by following this link:
Bishop Sarah has been stressing the importance of relationships in many of her addresses to date. It is a good reminder for us at St Nick’s that this coming weekend offers us a tremendous opportunity to develop and enrich our relationships with one another and with all those who will, hopefully, come through our doors to enjoy our Flower and Music Festival. I look forward to seeing you there!
With every blessing