Greetings from the Rector

Greetings from the Rector
I write this shortly after Easter Sunday with the shouts of ‘He is risen, Alleluia!’ still ringing in my ears. Churches that have for 40 days seemed barren and colourless have once again sprung to life as our wonderful flower arrangers have shared their talents for the enjoyment of all. The sorrow of Good Friday has given way to the joy of Easter and a new journey begins. One of my favourite biblical narratives is the post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to the two companions on the road to Emmaus. We learn from Luke’s Gospel how Jesus joined them as they walked along, listening to their conversation as they tried to make sense of all that had taken place in Jerusalem in recent days. Lost in despair and dashed hopes they hardly lifted their heads to look at their new companion. As night was beginning to fall, they invited their travelling companion to eat with them and it was there in the act of breaking bread that they recognised Jesus. “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening up the scriptures to us” And a new journey began as the companions, full of renewed resurrection hope, returned to Jerusalem to tell the Good News.
News headlines over the last few days reveal that we live in world which seems to be increasingly filled with bad news: As I write, tension is escalating between North Korea and the US, Isis has claimed responsibility for the Palm Sunday bombings of the two Coptic churches in Egypt, scores of children are among the dead as part of a Syrian bus convoy is blown up, not to mention the escalating humanitarian crisis in Yemen, South Sudan, Ethiopia and other parts of Africa. The challenges of living in 1st century Palestine under Roman occupation and opposition from the Jewish authorities, including death threats towards those who had been followers of Jesus, were all still a very real part of the world the companions on the Emmaus road inhabited, but their interpretation of this world and their vocation within it was radically changed by their encounter with the living Jesus. As ‘Easter people’, our interpretation of the world in which we live and the role we are called to play is filtered through the Good News of the resurrection. We are called to be people of prayer and people who are ready to speak out against all forms of injustice and to offer practical action wherever appropriate.
Such demands would be difficult to fulfil if we were travelling alone, but here in the benefice we have very many opportunities to travel in fellowship with others. Since the weekly worship rota changed at the beginning of the New Year, I have been delighted to see that people have opted to worship in a different church if their own has no service that week. This has not only forged new bonds of friendship but has enriched communities. The weekly Cornerstone congregation, now firmly rooted in Little Chart church, has gone from strength to strength. Towards the end of May we have more opportunities to meet together for prayer and reflection across the 9 day period known as the Novena, this year under the title “Conversations in the In-Between”.
As part of our journey together, and in order that we can better discern the will of God for our ongoing life together in the benefice, there will be a meeting on Thursday May 4th at 7.30pm in Little Chart Church to discuss a possible move to a Single Parish structure. All will be welcome to attend.
Please continue to pray for Mim Oliver as she commences the next part of her journey as the Youth and Children’s Minister at All Saints Church, Canterbury.
May you all be blessed by the love, joy and peace of the resurrected Christ.
Sheila