18th July 2018

Dear Friends
As many of you know I have just spent ten days attending a conference for clergy at Windsor Castle. It was an amazing experience, it was intellectually very challenging, it was stimulating, it was fun and above all it was a privilege. We had some amazing people lecture on the most pressing issues of our day. Brexit, gang violence, the environment, the NHS, I could go on. In preparation for the conference we were all asked to read a number of books, prepare a bible study, a book review and write a paper of no more than 3,000 words, I’m afraid mine was 3,078, thankfully I wasn’t penalised. What did I get out of it? Well apart from some new clerical friends, and a host of new guests for our ‘In Conversation’ evensongs, I became convinced that the future of the Church lies in it proclaiming the Gospel by a life authentically lived. One of the chief complaints of participants was a fear that the Church is becoming just a bit too ‘shiny’ a bit too smooth. Our faith is based on one who wept in the garden before his arrest, who was executed outside the city walls. There is nothing shiny or smooth about Jesus, he was not flogging a product, or a brand, he was offering us all the invitation to a new way of living, of understanding ourselves, our community and our God. I think I will expand my thoughts on this matter in further e-bulletins.Pax

Simon