Friday, 30 December 2016

Happy New Year!

As we plunge into 2017 we bump into a few significant anniversaries.  Here are just four:
               100 years since the end of the Russian Royal Family with the abdication of Tsar Nicolas II
               30 years since the Church of England decided to ordain women priests
               20 years since the handover of Hong Kong
               20 years since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales

Perhaps, like me, (apart from the first one!) you are saying ‘seems like only yesterday’!!

Of course any year has particular anniversaries and some commemorate events which will have been a long time in the making with lots of struggle along the way.  In the above list the Ordination of Women to the Anglican Priesthood was just such a long term aspiration.  Many struggled hard to make that dream become a reality – as it did through a General Synod vote in 1987 – the year I myself was ordained as a Baptist Minister!
Yet other events come out of the blue and knock us sideways; they are neither planned nor anticipated and we can be left shocked and confused in their wake.  The death of Princess Diana twenty years ago this coming autumn was just such a moment.  It happened the night before our second son, Jonty, was to be ‘Dedicated’ and in the light of those sad events we spent a few hours before the service frantically changing both some of the hymns and the text of the sermon – but I don’t think he noticed too much!

Life is that stimulating, yet often challenging, mixture of the planned and unplanned; and 2017 will be no different in that respect from any other year.

‘Discerning’ the presence and activity of God in all that comes our way is an important part of our pilgrimage.  We’ll do that as we bring our experience, our prayers, our thinking and our hoping to the various experiences that lay before us as a church community and as individuals in the upcoming twelve months.

I’m ‘looking out’ for God in 2017 – and I hope you are too!



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