This is my last letter for the church magazine as your Vicar. At the time of writing, we have not only been preparing for my departure on Sunday 7th July, but also for other exciting events still to take place beforehand. By the time you read this, we will have celebrated Pentecost Sunday. We will have prayed not just for the sending of the Holy Spirit amongst us, but also that we will have the courage and insight to know how to follow it. Pentecost is often referred to as the birthday of the Church and its celebration reminds us that we are constantly being made new by the Spirit’s promptings. The Spirit comforts and provokes – the new realisations it brings us to are not always comfortable but we take courage in the fact that God is always leading us in the right direction and is there walking with us through all things. And even when the Spirit’s lead does not seem to make much sense according to our worldly view, it does lead us to places that we could never have dreamed of reaching according to our own design. And this is why we rejoice.
The Cross Cultural Carnival and Youth Fun Day on Sunday 30th June is fast approaching. We will welcome our bishop and allow the Spirit to guide us and give us energy through the diverse expression of different cultures. There will be a grand procession leaving from the junction of Court Road and Bark Hart Road at 9.30am, with African drummers, Gospel Choir and our own splendid Choir. We will celebrate in the Eucharistic offering at the hands of our Bishop. Then we’ll enjoy eating food from a wide selection of cultures and have fun at the stalls and entertainments laid on for the rest of the day.
The following Sunday, will be my last and it will be an immense privilege to get the opportunity to celebrate the Holy Eucharist with you all one final time. Thank you to all those who have been a part of some of the wonderful things we have done together in my time here, for those who have seen the bigger picture and helped move All Saints’ forward – and it has moved forward a long way! For those who have struggled to understand everything we have had to do, I can only apologise that I have not been able to explain more to you – sometimes there is only so much one can say.
I hope All Saints is able to use the next stage as a time of honest reflection. I hope that those with the quieter voices may be allowed to be heard and when the time comes, you may be gifted a priest who is able to continue the rebuilding that we have begun; someone who will be willing to do the difficult things as well as the easy. Someone who is filled with the Spirit and has a passion to introduce the faith to new generations so that All Saints may secure a rich future as the Parish Church of Orpington.
May God bless you all in all your future endeavours. My family and I will miss so many of you.