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Rector's View - March 2009

Dear friends,

Life sometimes seems as if it is one long round of meetings and conferences. Many of you serve on committees and must know the feeling!

We spend so much time in meetings and conferences of one kind or another - both within and outside the life of the Church. It is the method we use to seek the solution to difficult problems. 'Let's put our heads together', we say, 'and we are bound to come up with the right answer.' It is true that a meeting of people may well reach a decision which is better thought out, more objective and commanding wider acceptance and agreement than an individual could normally achieve.

No doubt this is the reason why the Church of England has become increasingly synodical over the last few decades - from General Synod to PCC. So far so good, but what are we actually doing on these committees?

Do we, sometimes at least, gather together either to tell each other what we already know perfectly well, or alternatively to try to persuade each other that our way, our opinion, our interests ought to be given priority and preference? If, on occasions, this does happen then it is not the fault of the synodical structures as such. Each level of synod is capable, under God, of wise, prayerful and diligent consideration of their respective spheres of Church life - provided that the members all remember that they are not there to promote their own views, but God's.

Meetings should not only begin and end with prayer but should be conducted throughout in the awareness of God's presence and with a concern to discover His will and purposes; to advance, in some small way, His kingdom on earth as in heaven; to give glory and honour to His name and care and blessing to his people.

In the Gospels the disciples, left to their own devices, got nowhere at all until Jesus arrived and gave them the answer. It was not just meeting together which brought results, but sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him. The disciples were baffled until Jesus gave the explanation. Today we are just as baffled until He gives the explanation!

Rather than relying on our own wisdom, let us always try to listen for God's voice by turning to Him and humbly seeking His guidance, by waiting upon Him in prayer and closer communion, and by respectful attention to each other. No one person has a monopoly on discerning the will of God.

The most important meetings in the life of a Parish Church are the 'Meeting of Parishioners', at which Churchwardens are elected for the coming year, and the 'Annual Parochial Church Meeting' (APCM) for members of the church electoral roll, at which the PCC is elected, the accounts and annual report adopted, reports received, and questions of general church interest discussed.

Over the next few weeks all seven parishes of the benefice will be holding their annual meetings. It is always disappointing when there is a low attendance. It is vitally important that as many people as possible attend these meetings to ensure that they are truly representative and that decisions reached have the consent of the majority.

Above all, it is vitally important that we come together prayerfully, with open hearts and minds, as together we try to discern God's will for our parishes for the coming year.

Stephen

Rev'd Stephen Abbott

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Last Modified Wednesday 25 May 2011