Associate Rector's house - March 2004
First impressions... are often wrong? I hope not! From the time of my interview way back in September to these first two weeks of beginning work in the parish my first impressions have been of a very welcoming group of people, and of a very faithful and hard working and giving group of people associated with the churches of St Peter's and All Saints'.
Someone said to me that this was my “honeymoon period” - a slightly strange honeymoon perhaps; but even so I shall enjoy it while it lasts; I am becoming increasingly aware of the many ventures, projects, campaigns, strategies etc. that this parish is involved with and in; and the possibilities of more in the future; for these first weeks I am listening very carefully, trying to take it all in, working out who is who. I have a feeling that as far as this honeymoon is concerned I am on my way back to reality and the day to day business of what it means to be part of a team seeking to be the church in the city. I have a lot to learn, and I hope a lot to give.
I do want to say a big thank you to all who have helped me to begin to settle in, and especially to Andrew, Wendy and Angela. It is wonderful to walk into an office and know that I will find there a wealth of experience and friendly faces; it is also wonderful to be so close to the best coffee shop in town ( I mean our own of course!)
As well as this being a new beginning for me personally, as I write we are anticipating the beginning of our journey towards Easter; Lent groups are being organised as one way of participating in that journey, and in Sunday services and midweek the Lenten themes will be reflected upon. The Church (in its widest sense) has emphasised the themes of self-giving, fasting, prayer, self-denial, examination of life; that through these experiences we may walk with Jesus through doubt and temptation, and in walking the way of the cross may find it none other than the way of life and peace.
When thinking of the city maybe the words life and peace are not the first that come to mind; when Jesus looked upon the city of Jerusalem he was moved to tears; and the events of holy week are ones filled with fear, betrayal, cowardice, and despair; but of course that is not the end of the story... And I leave that for April magazine to pick up! However, as we face uncertainty in our church life, and perhaps are even fearful as to what may be taken away, what may be given, what will it cost, spiritually, emotionally, physically and monetarily, I come back to my first impressions; that this committed and faithful groups of people, who I am getting to know, will rise to the challenge, and with prayer and all the wisdom of experience that you have will go forward to take hold of all that God is calling you - me - us too.
So I wish you a thought provoking Lent - with my best wishes, Chrissie.