For all that has been - Thanks !

For all that will be - Yes !

 

This quotation was top of the list of favourite quotes that Fr Paul chose for the order of service at his farewell Eucharist on 21 July. I guess he meant it as a prayer for himself, thanking God for the last 18 years, and ready to face an unknown future in another country. I suggest it is equally appropriate for all of us at St Peter's. We too thank God for Fr Paul's ministry, but are we ready to embrace the unknown future? A new Vicar will be wise to acknowledge all that by the grace of God has been achieved here in the past, but will also bring fresh gifts and new insights to the next chapter in the long history of St Peter's that began in 1747.

 

The quotation is from the writings of Dag Hammarskjold, who was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. A devout Christian, he belonged to the Lutheran Church of Sweden. He was killed in a plane crash in central Africa in 1961. He was on a peace-keeping mission to that region and there is still some mystery about the circumstances of his death. His personal diary, published after his death, is called "Markings". It reveals a deep spirituality, and is regarded as a classic. I remember clearly Michael Ramsey, then Archbishop of Canterbury, giving the address at the Memorial Service held in London. He spoke of the heroes of faith and this was his text:

"...If they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out,

they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a

better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be

called their God: for he has prepared for them a city." [Hebrews 11: 15]

The message, as explained by the Archbishop, is that those who firmly believe in a heavenly future, as Jesus Christ taught us, are those who achieve most to make the present world a better place. We need a vision for the future, as well as gratitude for what is past.

 

I know all of us at St Peter's will be praying about the future, and that the person chosen to be our next Vicar will be the person whom God has called. I have been most impressed with the wisdom and insight of so many church members, and would like to invite you to write down a sentence or a paragraph, or even a prayer, stating our hopes for the future of our church and the mission of God in our parish. With permission from the Churchwardens I would like to collect these and perhaps publish them in this magazine. They would certainly help those responsible for making the appointment. You can sign them, or make them anonymous. Hand them to me in church, or send me an e-mail. We are called to embrace the future - "for ALL THAT WILL BE - Yes", even though it is still unknown. We call this faith.

 

Meanwhile, we the Fab4 (see July/Aug magazine) and nine other clergy have formed a rota to ensure that during the interregnum our worship and witness will continue as normal. With the support of a strong congregation, and with all the support structures in place, our hopes are high, and our trust is in God.

 

(Canon) RAYMOND J. LEE