Letter from Sandy Emery, Associate Priest - July 2018

As the countryside flourishes I look around me in the profound silence and I give thanks to the Creator. How could I not? When after all we live in an area of outstanding natural beauty. How do we describe it? I have heard some say it is like heaven on earth. Others use the word ‘awesome’ which is a distressingly overused word nowadays, but it was for this that the word was intended. I think that for many people today an approach to the divine is made most easily through the natural world. I might like to think that being introduced to the person of Jesus would bring people to their knees, but experience suggests that, in our highly secularised culture, a walk on the hills or digging in a garden is, for many people, a surer guide to the geography of God. This is where Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s words ring true for many people:

‘Earth’s crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God,
but only he who sees
takes off his shoes.’

The natural world around them witnesses to God’s kindness, God’s love and God’s holiness. Where do we see and find God? In church, on the Common, in our garden or a country walk, sitting beside a lake or river or looking at a view of breath taking scenery or even in other people? We possibly also see God in birth, in new life. I am acutely aware as I sit at my desk watching my bird feeder as little fledglings come with the adults to be feed. Our churchwarden Mandy is also aware of the miracle of new birth as she has another new granddaughter joining the family. And as our retired priest Alison, who has just become a grandmother again, exclaimed ‘what a wonderful thing new life is’! Soon we will all see new life as the cattle on the common start to have their calves and we enjoy them following their mothers and then frolick- ing with the others. New life is just so precious not only to us but also to God for he is all around us in creation for he is our Creator, caring for us, loving us and forgiving us.

It is no wonder that the Diocese of Gloucester’s Vision Statement is from the Gospel of John 10:10 “I have come that they may have LIFE, and have it to the full.” I ask then what is our responsibility with this life that has been given so graciously to us? Our goal is clear as disciples – that we bring the good news to everyone and proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord. Or we should do! We should bring the good news, that Jesus Christ is Lord and we should turn from worthless things in this world to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that’s in them.’ This is how I see new birth within us all, to discard our old lives and become followers of Jesus Christ.

News relating to our Vacancy. I am pleased to say that by the time you read this that our Benefice Parish Profile has been written and that the post is being advertised for the appointment of our new Rector. Interviews are due to take place the end of September. Please continue to keep us in your prayers and pray that God will send us the right person to become our new Rector.

With love and best wishes