Rector's Letter for September
DEAR SISTERS AND BROTHERS,
September brings with it a whole number of emotions. There is that “end of Summer” feeling, when the playfulness and the warmth of the past few months draw gently to a close and the seriousness of Autumn and the approach of a long Winter brood over the horizon. There is that “start of a new term” feeling, which those of us educated in Britain have wired into our DNA, bringing thoughts that excite and thoughts that make us anxious. There is that “long run into Christmas” feeling, which can derail the Church calendar and make us think too soon about that season and skip over the riches of the forthcoming months.
Before I flag up some of the things that we could note at Bury Parish over the next few weeks, here are a few God-thoughts to chew on, stimulated by a day out I was privileged to have.
We went, in mid-August, to Formby, to look for the red squirrels. Although we had a great day, walking through the woods, we only got to see a few precious seconds of some playing with each other in the distance before they disappeared up into the foliage of the trees. For a moment we were hopeful that one first glimpse would morph into something more but then, in the blink of an eye, they were up and gone.
I was reminded of part of poem by the Welsh Anglican priest, R.S. Thomas. In his poem Pilgrimages he tries to describe the divine in these terms;
He is such a fast
God, always before us and
leaving as we arrive.
Analogies of God are always on tricky ground. Trying to put our thoughts about God, our experiences of God, into words will always look a bit thin. Suggesting God is like a Red Squirrel certainly falls into that category. Yet, as Thomas suggests in his poem, to think of God as always there before us (there isn’t any place where God is not) and always escaping out of our attempts to define him (all descriptions of God fall short), is not a bad place to begin.
On Sunday 9th September, Joanne Nicolson, the Relationship Manager for the North West and Isle of Man for the Children’s Society, is coming. She will be leading a discussion at Adult Sunday School (8.45am - venue to be clarified) and then on to our 10.00am Service. We probably “know” the Children’s Society best through the Christingle service on Christmas Eve. If you have been reading the articles in the magazine over the past couple of months (and read the one in this edition) you, I hope, have a greater understanding of their work, in the name of the Church, with some of country’s most vulnerable young people. As we hear about cuts in local services, the contribution of charities in this sector is all the more important.
The following Sunday, 16th September, sees Bury town centre host the start of the Bury 10K run. Access to the Parish Church, I am assured, will be possible along Bolton Road and the Wylde. As this is the third Sunday of the month, Adult Sunday School will occur in the Robert Peel. For those who might find travelling as usual a tad more awkward, I might suggest either parking across the road at Tesco or you might want to change your rhythm and come along to Choral Evensong at 6.30pm.
With love and prayers,