Clergy Blog - October 2017

Changing times
"I'm not a fan of the new £1 coin, but then again, I hate all change."
 
With this, Ken Cheng won the 2017 Funniest Joke Of The Edinburgh Fringe. Very cheesy - I wonder what the others were like - but I suspect it scored so highly because it contains a truth that so many identified with. Most of us don't like change and can get distressed, even ill, if too many changes occur at once. Autumn is a time of change - not only for trees, and for the weather, but a time of new beginnings after the summer break, especially for churches and educational institutions. This Autumn, St Edward's has moved into a new phase, a parish vacancy, the offical term for waiting for a new vicar.
 
Many of our congregation haven't experienced such a period of waiting before. On the other hand, we are a parish blessed with people from a wide range of traditions and other places - some will have experienced far more Christian leaders than those of us who have lived in Dringhouses for decades.
 
One of my favourite quotes, attributed to Bill Keane, a comic strip writer is:
 
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present." At the moment, we are experiencing a gift from God, to live in the present, not to worry about the future, but to continue to develop our mission.
 
God never forgets us
Some of you will know I have a special interest in people with dementia. From Saturday 30 September, at 11.15, monthly services for anyone affected by dementia resume at St Luke's, Burton Stone Lane. Contact me for details or for a lift. As dementia progresses, people increasingly can only live in the present, but although they may have forgotten so much, God never forgets us - the bible tells us every hair of our heads are numbered.
 
Let's Grow
As mentioned last month, there are a number of ways in which the outcomes from 'Let's Grow' continue. Linda Sykes has got a more detailed article elsewhere about The Rhythms of Grace, an exciting small group course, as part of the Discipleship and Prayer strand of Let's Grow. A reminder that other strands are Pathways to faith for newcomers Welcoming and befriending, with outreach to the community a them for Lent meetings.
 
Sharing stories
One of the more recent 'Let's Grow' sessions invited us to share our faith story with someone in the group and this proved a very rewarding exercise. Nigel Pells was brave enough to follow this up with his own experience a few months ago in The Porch. Often, we feel our stories are mundane, but retelling our journey so often highlights in retrospect how God's hand has been on our lives. I am fond of the Gwyneth Paltrow film, 'Sliding Doors', where two quite different stories develop, one where she catches the Tube and discovers her boyfriend's infidelity, the other where the sliding doors closed so that she missed the Tube and continues a toxic relationship.
 
From my own faith journey, there are two particular Sliding Door moments, where I can see the hand of God very clearly. Firstly, the Methodist minister, who preached a sermon where I came to faith at the age of 15 decided only a few weeks later that the ministry was not for him and decided to revert to being a social worker.
 
Secondly, someone I knew slightly at Warwick university told me about a youth project in York called The Catacombs, run by St Michael-le-Belfrey. When I moved to York, I became involved in the project - and through it met both of my husbands, the first of whom was already involved at St Edward's. Can you trace how God guided you here? Enjoy the present, your unique gift from God.
 
Gill Myers