From the vicar
An address for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018
Romans 8: 12-28
Despite being conscious of our ecclesiastical divisions we would do well
to take something positive away from today and from the Week of Prayer in
general rather than descend into the slough of despond through our inability to
be reconciled. Divisions may be a reason for penitence when they are caused by
our errors and wilfulness, but differences may also be a blessing when they are
rooted in the life of faith. This is not just about making the best of a bad
job, but making the most of the Holy Spirit’s influence upon us and moulding of
us; recognising how God blesses us through our varied personalities and circumstances.
God allows to grow up within the Church various ‘charisms’ which are a
significant tool for his work in the world and where they are understood aright
– as a contribution to the unity of the Body of Christ and the furtherance of
the Kingdom of God – a joy to his
people. For example there are many monastic charisms which serve God in
different ways and which are expressed in terms of service, proclamation and
prayer in the various orders, Benedictine, Franciscan, Dominican and so forth.
Many of us enjoy the Methodist charism of hymnody. Hardly a week goes by
without the appearance of a ‘Wesley’ on the hymn list, expressing at the same
time the intimacy and depth of faith in language which is both dignified and
readily understood. Perhaps there is an Anglican charism too! We might offer a
way of thinking about Christianity and living the faith which is rooted in ‘Scripture,
Tradition and Reason’ reflecting the breadth of God’s revelation and our
ability as human beings to understand and respond to it.
Interestingly this may provide an answer to a current problem within the
youthful world of social media. Therein Christians are often accused of
‘cherry-picking’ and inconsistency in the use of Scripture because there are
passages in the Old Testament, particularly in the books of the law, to which
we do not adhere. Examples might concern sacrifices and associated rites some
of which we may read about at Candlemas.
Such an accusation is based on woeful ignorance and is a sad indictment
of parts of our educational system. It is based on the misunderstanding that
our faith can be described,
after the manner of a scientific text-book or an
instruction manual or
that Christianity is a religion based on precepts which
were created in one place, by one person, at one time perhaps after the manner
of Islam which is the particular interest of the day in the world of social
Christianity is based rather upon a living relationship with God, rooted
in the Scriptures and in the Apostolic witness, not reducible to a religious
code, but very much alive as Christians receive their charisms from God to suit
his purpose in every age; as we ‘work out our salvation in fear and trembling.’
For this reason Christians refer variously to the teaching of Jesus and the
Scriptures, and the teaching of the Apostles and the Early Church Fathers to
discover the truth and to make sense of their own faith. The faith is not the
product of ‘cherry-picking’ but rather the result of the Spirit working in the
believer in many and various ways. Only by understanding this is it possible to
know why some elements of the Old Testament were retained and some rejected.
Of course this is inherently risky and has led to many ecclesiastical
errors and schisms over the centuries (which is why we are here), but what a
joy it is that the Spirit has led us in particular ways – in his way – down
through the years. Whilst lamenting our differences where these are part of our
divisions may we also thank God for the different things he has given us and
which we can share with each other to the glory of God.
Pray for strong
leadership within the Church of England so that together we may present a
faithful witness to the nation and the world.
Wednesday 7th February, 10.00am MU Corporate Communion
of the late Sybil French
10.00am Mass with imposition of ashes (modern rite) 8.00pm Mass
with imposition of ashes (traditional
rite with hymns)
Friday 16th February, 8.00pm Stations of the Cross
21st February, 8.00pm Parochial
Church Council in the Parish Hall
of the Society in North-West London
The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Antioch
Thursday 22nd February, 8.00pm
Mass at St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath
23rd February, 8.00pm Stations
of the Cross
From the registers –
31st December Teresa Jenkins and John Jenkins
28th December June Doyle (aged 89 years)
Lent Study Booklet
Additional Curates Society has produced a study booklet for Lent containing
seasonal readings, reflections and prayers.
It is written by Joan Whyman and is entitled ‘Forgiven at the
Cross’. If you would like a copy priced
£3-00 please speak to Fr. Andrew.
of the Cross
Fridays in Lent at 8.00pm
beginning on 16th February
Ash Wednesday falls on 14th
February. Please return last year’s palm crosses by Sunday 11th
February so that they can be burnt for ash.
Additional Curates Society Lent boxes
ACS works to support the
provision of priests in ‘poor and populous parishes.’ If you wish to have a
collecting box for the work of ACS these are available at the back of church.
Many people take the opportunity to make a contribution at this time of year by
putting money in the box when forgoing a meal or a treat during Lent.
If you have appreciated
reading the ‘Together’ periodical published by the Church Union on behalf of
the Catholic Societies of the Church of England you might like to make a
donation towards the cost of St. Peter’s Easter advertisement. Contributions
support the publication of the paper and make a statement about our corporate
life as part of the Richborough family of parishes. Donations please to Fr.
St. Peter's Book Club
Join us every 3rd Sunday of the month for friendly discussions about
classic and contemporary books. All welcome! Our next meeting will be on Sunday
18th February 7pm-8pm at the Parish Hall.
Cost £3 per meeting. Contact Dayner 07546 713220 or
Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off
Mr. Peter Mould (020 8428 8307); Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923).
a prayer request to our Prayer Line on 07939 379018. Private prayer will be
offered for 2 weeks.