Welcome to you all after our Christmas and New Year edition.
As many of you know we had a very special service at St Marks on the 13th January, when I was installed in the position of vicar of St Marks Church. I would like to thank everybody who came along and shared the afternoon; it was lovely to see the church so full of people, who have become friends. Lots of people have said to me that they felt very emotional, with a real presence of the Holy Spirit with us and I must echo that feeling. The whole event was a great example for our newly ordained Bishop Beverley and our Arch Deacon Jennifer to see the life and vibrancy of our rural church.
On the morning of the service, I attended at Bescar Lane Methodist to join their worship. They had their annual covenant service and renewed their promises to God. Worship was led by, Rev’d Patrick who asked me about the service in the afternoon. He said “can you tell me what your induction service is all about as we would like to pray for you?”. I told him, well, at the moment I am licensed as the priest in charge, but now I am going to be vicar, which means I am the priest in charge, to be honest I sympathised with his confused look. I turned to Rev’d David Benge, who many of you know is a retired Anglican priest, and asked him to explain to which he replied “It’s a mystery” and, you know, that answer is good enough for me. Foundationally things have not changed one iota, but in Gods power and timing things have developed and evolved, and it is my prayer that it means stability and growth for us here in this parish.
I believe that there is a real blessing for longevity in a place; it builds relationship, trust, belonging and a sense of ownership and this is what I hope the church builds on to make it relevant in this place that God has blessed us with. I am seeing my new title as an opportunity to review the life of St Marks, what has been achieved up to now and what still needs to be done. Time and wisdom has taught me that nothing can be done alone; it needs people to share the vision and to pull together to make it into a reality; but, more importantly, we need God to be at the centre of all that we hope to do. I have been at St Marks for five years and ask myself, “where has that time gone?”. It helps me to focus that all our time on this side of heaven is fleeting. Not many of us get to our stage of life without experiencing that, God gives to us and he takes away. So I suppose the question we all need to ask ourselves is, what is it that God wants of me in the time he has allotted me, both in my life and in the life of His church.
If I was to talk about any legacy I leave here, I feel I wouldn’t go far wrong following the example of our good friend Rev’d Peter Knight who sadly passed away, we feel too suddenly, at Christmas. Peter was a great inspiration to the church here in Scarisbrick and I know a lot of you at St Marks, loved him coming to worship, preach and to teach us. He with Peter Todd, St Marks previous vicar, Fathers’ Godric and Boniface worked hard to lay the foundation of ecumenical (churches together) working in our parish. They have laid a strong basis for us to build on and it is my conviction that the Holy Spirit is working here in Scarisbrick. But the question I frequently ponder on is this, I know God is committing to his responsibility, am I committed to mine?
So, as your new vicar, can I ask you to join me in prayer to God to reveal the next chapter of the life of not only St Marks, but of the church here in Scarisbrick. So that when our time comes, to move on, retire or go to glory we can say, “look God you gave us stewardship of this church” and, just as he said to Jesus at His baptism, hope that he will reply “you are my beloved and with you I am well pleased”.
God bless, Rev’d Eileen