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Vicar's Musings for Dedication Sunday

2 August, 2015

"The Parish Mission begins today ..." were some of the final words that our missioner, Bp Stephen Cottrell, left with us last Sunday. The question we must now grapple with as a faith community is: Where do we go from here? On Thursday evening we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration, and I think something of the answer lies within that great story of our Christian tradition. We have had a mountain-top experience as a parish over the mission week; perhaps even caught a glimpse of the divine. But we clearly cannot stay on the mountain, building booths for Moses, Elijah and Jesus. We must return to the mundane, to the everyday realities of parish life; but we return changed.

Much as we carefully and prayerfully prepared for the week of mission, we must now set about the task of planning and seeking God's guidance for the ongoing mission of the parish. I think the three imperatives of mission week should probably be our starting place:

  • Social Service: further developing the coffee cart social enterprise, to provide employment pathways for Lazarus Centre participants and others experiencing long-term unemployment.
  • Family Ministry: it was inspiring to see the parish hall filled with families, most of whom we had never met before. The challenge now is to draw on this experience of what is possible, and ultimately to find ways of building bridges into faith commitment.
  • Ministry with Business Leaders: through our Business and Parliamentary chaplaincies, as well as existing parishioner networks, we have strong links with the City. Another focus of our ongoing mission will be to further strengthen these relationships, together seeking creative ways of proclaiming the gospel.

At the heart of our Anglo-Catholic church is our worship; and therein lies an overarching mission imperative. We experience the real presence of Christ in the Mass, and this is a profound evangelistic opportunity each week, indeed each day, as we share in the Eucharistic feast together.

So over the coming weeks and months we will pray, vision and plan together. I hope every member of the congregation will participate in some way, by joining a planning committee, by actively engaging in the consultation processes, and above all by faithfully praying for the ongoing mission of the parish. The aim is to present a Mission Action Plan at our Annual Meeting of the parish in November, which will then guide our mission activities over the next three years.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster



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