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July August 2016

I am writing in the last week of May with summer already announced with some blue skies, songbirds and the promise of many roses to come. In the magazine and elsewhere are heralds of the summer fete, a flower festival in celebration of the Queen’s ninetieth birthday and a lively barn dance. All this in June and then in early July I am looking forward to going to St. Alban’s abbey to share in Paolo Di Leo’s service of ordination as a deacon. Shortly afterwards Paolo will join St. Margaret’s ministry team working part time as a self supporting minister with Teresa, Paul and I and all of us as part of God’s people in this place.

It is good to remember that we are “the people of God” or as the disciple Peter put it “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” for all Christians share corporately in the priesthood; some though are especially privileged and offer themselves to be set aside for particular duties.

In the introduction to the ordination service, the Book of Common Prayer declares that
“it is evident to all (men) diligently reading Holy Scripture and ancient authors that from the apostles’ time there have been these orders of ministry: Bishops, Priests and Deacons.”

The word deacon comes from the Greek, diakonas which means servant and this is the earliest term used for ministers in the church, referring to account in the Acts of the Apostles to the calling of the seven who were selected to assist the twelve apostles and who then helped with the daily distribution of food particularly to the poor.

Deacons then are called to work with the Bishop and the priests with whom they serve as heralds of Christ’s kingdom. Although this title is reserved for those who are first ordained, priests, bishops and archbishops always remain a deacon. This fundamental idea that ministry is a call to service is modelled on Jesus himself and informs all of the workings of the church and the people of it. Paolo on the 3rd July will be called to use his gifts in the service of those around him. This is a broad giving to all people, lay, readers, and ordained alike. He will become gently attuned to God’s ministry in this place, trying to provide what is needed, listening and teaching and most of all being a prayerful presence alongside us.

So quite a summer to come even before my summer holidays in August when I shall take a spell by the sea to be rest a little. I hope you will enjoy the events and that too you will find some time to be away from work or study and to take a breath of freshness for bodily and spiritual renewal.

With best summer wishes,


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