Thursday, 30 April 2015

The God who both goes and stays!

This weekend our local Parish Church, St Michael's, says 'farewell' to their priest after ten years of service.  The Revd Diana is retiring.

Actually we will all miss this much loved and appreciated servant of God.

Diana has been the best Anglican colleague I have had the privilege to work with in all of my twenty eight years of formal ministry.  Her warm hearted spirit and co-operative attitude has made relationships between our two churches a deep joy.  In COTHA (Churches Together on The Hill) we too will be saying goodbye to someone we have grown to deeply respect and value.

The truth is, I think, that ecumenism - for all the reports and schemes that surround it - ultimately depends on relationships; and clergy relationships are crucial.  Diana has been a great friend to us at The Free Church and we wish miss her very much.

I'm always struck on these occasions by Abraham Lincoln's words as he bade farewell to his home town and made his way to Washington DC for his first inauguration.  Speaking to the crowds at the railway station he said 'The God who goes with me...is the God who stays with you.'  I think we rejoice in that truth.  The God who will be with The Revd Diana as she takes this next step on her journey is the same God who mysteriously and wonderfully stays with us here in Amersham, at St Michael's and in COTHA.  We are all held, cherished and sustained in God's hands.

So 'thank you' Diana for living the life of faith along side us and so wonderfully embodying the love and light of Christ among us.  And we rejoice that the God who goes with you stays with us and continues to bind us all together.

All good wishes,

Ian

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