St Peter’s Wormleighton - Notes for June 2020 Thinking about what to write

St Peter’s Wormleighton - Notes for June 2020 Thinking about what to write Alan Hone my good and much-missed friend and sometimes religious mentor (alongside some other local worthies), lately from Priors Hardwick and now I hear residing in the depths of rural Norfolk, once (allegedly) submitted a Parish News article that he had written a few years earlier to see if anyone noticed. Alas, this somewhat unorthodox measure of the effectiveness, impact or memorability of our painstakingly written pieces had the disappointing outcome that NOBODY NOTICED or COMMENTED! Thus, along these lines, I am often tempted to write something really outrageous, just to awaken sleepers and provoke a reaction. Like most writers, my main aims are - with as much humour as possible - to stir the pot or lob stones into otherwise placid and flat calm pools. Christianity is meant to be a joyful expression of faith – or I think so. Covid 19 Among the more disappointing of all reactions to the present virus-laden emergency was that of our Church Authorities, who when deciding to close all of their (?) churches, also took the opportunity of issuing an 18-page document of new instructions to be followed for the shutdown period drawn-up without consulting those involved and describing the actions that should be taken by the unpaid volunteers that run local churches. These instructions were as usual issued regardless of the size or capabilities of the church congregations involved –based on “one size fits all”. I doubt whether many small parishes even read these instructions let alone attempted to follow them. Certainly, the Diocesan authorities often unfortunately give an impression of being bureaucracies operating under the banner of Christ. Perhaps it’s about time Church Law was given the heave-ho? But despite that and things like it, the present emergency could be a God-send for all in terms of drawing communities closer together. The 75th VE day Celebration has suddenly seen people who have lived alongside one another without exchanging anything more than a wave, now chatting in informal street parties for the first time in 20 years. They say every cloud has a silver lining! We need to grasp this opportunity with both hands as part of fulfilling our task of transforming communities. Our 3-fold mission - Worshipping God – Making new disciples – Transforming communities. These 3 tasks are set by our leaders as the main activities to which we, as Christians in the 21st century, are expected to be committed. Following the catastrophic collapse of Christian Church membership in the late 20th and early 21st centuries in the UK and the parallel shortage and unaffordability of ordained clergy to provide spiritual leadership, the Church has been forced to pass on what were formerly exclusively clerical responsibilities to anybody who attends church services. If you think about it, this could well be something of a significant deterrent that keeps possible new members of Christian communities away from actually joining their local church. There is little doubt that Christian Doctrine still remains seriously damaged by Charles Darwin’s (himself a Christian) “Origin of the Species” and that the message of Christ has had to be somewhat watered-down and the concept of there being eternal life available for true Christian believers is no longer the mainstream message it once was because it’s a harder sell than supporting the local food bank. Hard sell or not, it remains the cornerstone of Christianity combined with loving our fellow human beings. Hard-line Christianity The English have never actually been very whole-hearted supporters of excessively Orthodox Christianity such as practised by the Puritans in the 17th-century. One only has to look at the commercialised version of Christmas that we now follow these days, in which the pre-Christian idea of 12 days of feasting has become a predominant feature alongside the Victorian concept of Christmas Boxes and sending of greetings in modern culture. The most hard-line of Christians like The Puritans began to find that it was pretty hard to recruit people to their version of Christianity , so that the Pilgrim Fathers eventually took it upon themselves to leave their homeland in the Mayflower and create their own little community of fervent believers across the Atlantic where they could preach to each other. This later became the United States of America. (a bit of a simplification I know!) By the way – my time is up I suppose I should just let you know that I have decided, due to increasing commitment required to care for my wife, allied with ever more feeble abilities to do so, to retire from my official duties as the Churchwarden of St Peter’s since being originally “told” to do the job by the late great Rev. Canon Ken Phillips some 20 years ago. My predecessor Michael Robinson, served as Churchwarden for much longer than me - 30 years or more. I will continue to support St. Peter’s Church in any way that I can, or in any way that Gillian as our Priest- in-Charge or indeed the St Peter’s PCC wishes me to do. However, I will no longer do these things officially as an appointed and sworn-in Churchwarden. I leave my official office (when precisely who knows?) with our church building and our finances in a much healthier state than they were when I was officially elected 20 years ago. I had in truth only a minor role in this small but undoubted success- all I did was “encourager les autres”. People are great and if properly empowered can achieve many of the things they once felt were beyond them. Let’s hope that the faith shown by those who built St Peter’s back in the 1th or 12th Century will be perpetrated for as long as there are people living in this undoubtedly holy place! Jeremy Wheeler- on behalf of St Peter’s Wormleighton - Telephone 01327 264 330 email: jwheelertranslation@gmail.com

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