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Rector's letter - August 2019

Dear Friends,

I have just been reading a fascinating article about the transition of power from one Prime Minister to the next and by the time you read this we will, indeed, have a new Prime Minister.

In the same journal was a more intriguing juxtaposition between the old and the new in the report form General Synod which met recently in York; The Church of England is to bring back monastic orders (in other words officially recognise and foster vocations to the religious life). At the same time electronic giving, in the form of collection plates which can be tapped by a debit card, is to be piloted in some dioceses.

In these two decisions the church is making quite a powerful statement that we must embrace the future but not jettison all that has been good in the past. Of course, the monasteries of the Middle Ages assumed secular power and influence that was inappropriate and contrary to the simplicity and self-denial required by those seeking the religious life, but increasingly people are coming to value the opportunities of space, silence and reflection offered by the monastic life.

In a similar way there has been a revival of Retreats and Pilgrimage; The Pilgrim’s Way or “Comino” to Santiago de Compostella is more popular than ever and numbers have to be restricted. More locally I was delighted to hear that the pilgrims’ route to Walsingham is to be revived. A substantial grant from the EU will enable signage to be erected across the old known route informing those walking and cycling of the direction and distances to hostels on route. Part of the route will come through our benefice at North Elmham.

Whether we are people of faith or not, we all need space in our busy lives to simply sit and reflect away from the “business” which seems to drive us for most of the time. This may be in the form of a Retreat or Pilgrimage or it may simply be on a country walk or in our own garden.

Do give yourself some time, the benefits are incalculable.

Enjoy the summer.

With every Blessing

Fr Christopher