As we begin our interregnum, we will invariably start talking about growth, and will think of getting a new priest who will help us grow. Interregnums can be long and tricky, and it’s tempting to put all of our hopes about growth onto the new leader (whoever she or he may be). The good news is that we don’t have to wait at all, and can begin that process of growth now. We often think of growth as numerical, eg more people in the pews. The real growth however, is in us growing as disciples of Christ. The Church of England, in its obsession with money and statistics, can be quite bad at looking at this type of growth, as it can’t be measured. However, it really is the only growth that counts in the long run.
So how do we grow? We pray and read the bible, and allow doing both to change and shape us into the image of Christ. Focussing on our faith and inner life might seem like an odd indulgence in a world of need and want, but it is precisely though growing our faith through prayer and study that we become people able to address the needs of our neighbours and ourselves.
We can start this simply, by finding an empty chair and sitting down with an open bible and start reading it. Any bit of it would help, but perhaps the story of Jesus’ life in the gospels might suit this time of year. And we can start to by saying any prayer- for ourselves or for others.
Our churchwarden Shan has written one for our interregnum which I think is very suitable for us all:
God of wisdom and love
we ask for guidance during this time of change and in the discernment of our new leader.
We pray for our churches of St John's with St Andrew's and for the future of The Bromsgrove Parish.
Uphold us in word, in sacrament and in one another,
In change and in challenge
In humility and in hope
May our minds be your mind
Our wills be your will
And our hearts be your heart
Send your Holy Spirit,
That we might continue the work you have begun in us
Now and forever
But however we start, let us begin that process of growth, together and today.
Revd. Tom Atfield