Weekly Update – 30th June

Last Monday we held a service of prayer, together with people from St Paul’s, for the discernment of our next vicar and for our future mission working with our new vicar.  It was also an opportunity to reflect on the things that we have discovered and experienced within our church and ourselves over the last 18 months.  These things we can see as ‘treasures’.  Things that having been found, we now value, can be thankful of and can continue to use in the future.

One of the readings we used in the service was from Paul’s Letter to the Romans 5.1-8 (New Living Translation).  In particular verse 3, which tells us “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.”

It feels a little odd, potentially anarchic, to consider our time without a vicar as being a “place of undeserved privilege”. But just reflect for a moment on the privilege that the time of interregnum has brought us.   One thing that springs to mind is that it has been a time when we have been attentive to how God is working in our church.  During the service we spent time in prayer and reflection on the question: “What has God been doing in this church or in our lives during the interregnum?”  We spent some time in pairs sharing our insights – the treasures.  Then we shared our insights as a whole group.  So many wonderful points and experiences were shared but also a few notes of anxiety and points of caution.  Everything that was shared, including those cautionary notes, gave a valuable insight into how the last 18 months has been a time of discovery and growth.


With the new treasures we have found, we can joyfully look forward to the time when our new vicar joins.  It has been a time of preparation to revitalise ourselves ready for the future.


Speaking of revitalisation, Jenny and I went to Canterbury Cathedral on Tuesday this week to be formally appointed as churchwardens at the Archdeacon’s Visitation.  We may have been elected at the APCM but we are not churchwardens until we have attended one the annual Visitations.  The theme of the Visitation for this year is “Revitalisation”.  The message the Archdeacon’s want to stress is that whilst we might think revitalisation as some big initiative, it is also about considering more simple things.  The message was also clear in that revitalisation is something everyone in the church is involved with.   It is about reflecting on the life of our church.  The Archdeacons ask us: “is it [the life of our church] all it could be or are there things that can help people keep their faith full of life, enabling them to make the best of their relationship with God and to bring others to know the life God gives”.


Revitalisation is something we can all reflect on and include in our prayers.  What has God been doing in this church or in our lives during the interregnum?  What are the things – the treasures – that will help us keep our faith full of life?


This Sunday, is the service of ordination at Canterbury Cathedral for new deacons and priests within the Diocese.  This year there are 20 people being ordained as deacons and six as priest.  It includes two people from our Maidstone Deanery (Robin Fassenfelt, deacon at St Martin’s in Shepway and Hollie Butler, priest at St Lukes, Maidstone).  Please keep Robin, Hollie and all those being ordained in your prayers as they continue on their journeys of faith and ministry.