My dear friends
As a Ward Sister, Dame Cicley Saunders (founder of the Hospice movement) was accompanying a Consultant on his morning rounds after his previous days surgery. His lackadaisical, dismissive tone was evident throughout the rounds. As she introduced the last patient he declared he hadn’t got ‘time’ to see her, and was about to move off. Dame Cicley blocked his exit route and declared “Time should be measured in depth, never in length”.
And that is a maxim I’ve adhered to both in my business life and my role as a priest.
It is a very biblical maxim as well, as you hear it littered throughout the stories of Jesus; his parables, teachings, healings and sayings invariably contain some direct or inferred question “How do you spend your time bringing in my Kingdom – does it have value?” He talks of stewards looking after talents, of shepherds feeding their sheep, of farmers bringing in the harvest, wedding preparations, etc – all loaded with that underlying question “How are you spending your time in my name?” Just look at the West window of St John’s to get the picture…..
In my ‘time’ here (short or otherwise) I have witnessed some extraordinary and great depths both in the churches as buildings and as community, as well as individuals. They are too numerable to list, but include the words Lych Gate, Non-Lead Roofs, Windows, Bible out Loud, Orchestra of St John’s, Open the Book, Church open Daily, Little lambs, Authorised Lay Ministers, Readers, The Life of Christ,
Street Pastors, Market Prayers, Midwinter Festival – let alone the word Team…. the list does go on.
In my reflection on what has happened in just the four years I’ve been here - both in St John’s and St Andrew’s, the other Anglican churches and our sister and brother denominations – is that there is a Spirit driven movement to become more Mission focused. We as Christians have become more active in our Mission and Ministry, both in our relations with each other and with the community we serve – Bromsgrove and its environs.
We are developing Kingdom People.
And I hope and pray that whoever your next priest will be, will continue to foster and generate that selfless gift of ‘self’ that we all have – that is moulded and shaped by Christ – if we just give ‘time’ to Him and to each other. So….
“It’s time…. for Thelma and I to say farewell”
We will both look back on many fond and remarkable memories and the many gifts you have bestowed upon us. Thank you all so much.
But I just wonder how you might complete that sentence.
I’ll leave it with you in the hope that you’ll value the depth of that time, rather than just its length
“It’s time……” ?
God be with you.