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The Parish Magazine

The Parish Magazine is published 10 times a year (annual subscription £5) and distributed widely into the local community. There is an e-version of the Magazine in colour, which can be emailed to you for an annual subscription of £4. If you would like to receive the Magazine in electronic format, please use the Contact Us e-mail facility within this website.

There are regular features, news items, reviews etc. including:

Minding the Gap

July/August 2017

 

During the interregnum (the gap while the Rector’s post is vacant)

 

 

 

                                 Canon David Rogers  and                                Reader Mike Bunclark

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Bunclark writes:

 

David began his piece last month by saying “MPs need our prayers”. Then, he was looking ahead to the General Election, reflecting on how important it was that we should cast our vote and on the formidable tasks that would face the Government to be.

 

How right he was. But few would have foreseen the result. The resounding victory with an enlarged majority that Theresa May was seeking, and many confidently predicted at the outset of the campaign, didn’t happen. The Labour party wasn’t crushed and Jeremy Corbin’s grip on the leadership, far from being in doubt, is stronger than ever.

 

So what went wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it)? Well, political pundits are already having a field day dissecting the campaigns and giving us expert analyses. I don’t claim political expertise, but I offer these (almost random) thoughts.

 

What was meant by the Tories to give us a strong and stable government behind which we could all unite has left the Country more divided and polarised than before and as a result weaker. In two short years we have gone from being one of the strongest countries in Europe with an economy to match to one which seems intent on tearing itself apart. We seem to have spent two years focussing on what separates us rather than what unites us - and the Tories carried that into their election campaign and perhaps that is why it failed. Conversely, Jeremy Corbin focussed on what people could agree on and unite behind, perhaps explaining his success.

 

That division can weaken shouldn’t really come as a surprise - we have it on good authority. Christ, when refuting those who suggested that he had cast out a demon by the power of Beelzebub, said: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?

 

And we are divided. If any good is to come from our present situation - it may be in that Theresa May now has to seek wider agreement for any policies she plans. Consensus is better than confrontation and unity better still. For when we are united there is great strength. As in when the nation came together in the wake of the Manchester bombing and the attack in London and in the outpouring of compassion following the Grenfell Tower disaster. Ordinary people were united in their grief and in their opposition to extremism - as were the leaders of the different religions and faiths. They were able to set aside any differences that exist and focus on all that unites rather than separates. And that gives me hope.

 

But as I reflected on our political divisions I had to remind myself that we are faced with potential divisions within our own Church - the Anglican communion - and between us and other denominations of the Christian faith. We need only think of some of the more recent examples - the issue of women in the priesthood - then women in the episcopate. Each of which in their time looked as if they were going to tear the Church apart. It was only by going back to what it is that united us and then seek ways to accommodate some of our differences that we were able to maintain some unity.

 

There is still the issue of sexuality and same sex marriages - which again threatens to split the church. The Episcopal Church of Scotland has voted to allow same sex marriages - the first church in the Anglican Communion in the UK to do so. So the spotlight may once again fall on what divides us. Which is such a shame - because when we act in unity there is incredible power - the power of the spirit. As exemplified in the world wide response to the wave of prayer - Thy Kingdom Come - in which we all played our part. However small our part, we were all united in one purpose with one wish - to help bring about God’s kingdom.

 

And it’s when we do things like this, together, that we can remember who we are - and who we serve - and who has promised to be with us till the end of the age - and who has promised to send us the Holy Spirit.

 

And we can pray for our Church and for our country.

Lord, help us to be one.

To abide in you - as you abide in us

And may your kingdom come.

 

Mike Bunclark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover page 2012

A colour version (pdf) of St Martin's Magazine is available.

 

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Sample Magazine David Rogers - web cropped Mike Bunclark