Notes from the Clergy
As I remarked at the Parish Council on 30 May I understand my role as Interim Priest-in-Charge in part to be like a mirror, encouraging the whole community of St. James’ to stand back, to take a look at where it has come from and where it is now; then, by listening to one another, to the local community it is called to serve, and to the Spirit, to begin together to discern where God is leading St. James’ in the next stage of its life, ministry and witness. The Trustees’ Meeting last Tuesday gave me an opportunity three weeks in to present my “First Impressions” of life at St. James’, and some possible fruitful topics for conversation over these coming months of interim ministry. It is important that every member of St. James’ joins in these conversations, so in the next few weeks I shall use these Notes to highlight one or other of these “First Impressions.”
First, St. James’ has a noble history of worship, mission and social action in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, offered for almost 140 years by faithful priests and people. You are proud of this tradition and inheritance, and rightly so. Laus Deo! Praise be to God! Phyllis Reeve’s centenary history of St. James’, Every Good Gift, has been a fascinating and uplifting read, and has given me a flavour of what has formed today’s St. James’.
Areas to be considered, work on some of which is well in progress, include: our regular round of worship, Sunday by Sunday, day-by-day; our social engagement and action; formation, our teaching and learning, how we deepen our discipleship and grow new disciples; how we make the best use of our buildings and financial resources. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Quite an Agenda! To sum up: what does it mean to see ourselves as Anglo-Catholic? How do others (the diocese, other churches, visitors/enquirers) perceive us? How do we remain faithful to our inheritance of faith, but “proclaim it afresh in our and the next generation”? What should a contemporary expression of Anglo-Catholicism look like at St. James’?