Patronal Festival and Anglican Consultative Council visit
The Rectory - March 2005
This year already seems to be passing in a flash. We barely had time to complete our Christmas celebrations, with the Feast of the Presentation on 2 February, before we were turning to Lent, and on into Holy Week and Easter. (Indeed, being honest, clergy have to jump ahead the whole time, so in fact we were thinking forward into Lent even before Advent had begun!!!) Well, as we continue to journey through Lent, I want to draw your attention to events that are happening in June, because they are significant and both our parishes are intimately involved with them.
For some years, Petertide (29 June) has offered the opportunity for St Peter’s to arrange some special events to mark the Patronal Festival, gradually trying to build up towards a series that would be recognisable as a citywide festival of arts and related activities. Last year, we focussed on the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of World War 1, and were able to promote quite a wide range of events reasonably successfully.
This year, we have decided to go for the theme ‘Celebrating One City, One World’ and to promote a number of events bringing both outsiders in and utilising the enormous wealth of resources already available in the city. In this we are again working with friends at the Broadway Cinema, at both universities, and now with the City Council, whose arts team is very supportive – and who are also, coincidentally, promoting a weekend of activities at the end of May in the Market Square, with exactly the same theme. So we will be welcoming, from Zimbabwe, Black Umfolosi, a very well-known African group, and a Danish folk duo, Karen and Helene, who are up for a range of music awards in Denmark; we shall also hold a City Debate, on a related subject and there will be a range of activities from local artists as well.
All this runs in parallel with the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council which takes place between 18 and 29 June at the Jubilee Campus of Nottingham University. This will bring a hundred people, bishops, clergy and laity, from all over the world to Nottingham for a very important meeting indeed as the Anglican Communion tries to rebuild its sense of common identity and purpose. St Peter's will be hosting the opening service of the meeting on Sunday 19 June at 3.30pm, during which, the new Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon will be formally welcomed to his post, following the retirement of Canon John Peterson. The Diocese will be holding a service of welcome to the ACC on Sunday 26 June at 10.30am at St Mary's, when the Archbishop of Canterbury will be the preacher. There will also be other opportunities for us to be involved with the meeting and to share in welcoming a fascinating and diverse group of people to our city.
All this offers a great opportunity to demonstrate some of the good things that happen in our city. I hope we all share the desire to remove the stain that seems to have been attached to the name of Nottingham – I know that wherever I go, people seem to be saying 'Oh Nottingham....what an awful place that must be'. Well, there are problems, but we also know that there are really good things that happen here, and we, as part of the Christian community, should be contributing in a very positive way to painting the other picture. Both our Festival and the visit of the ACC offer real opportunities for doing that.