Priest's Page...

'Maureen's Musings'

February 2011

February can often seem an 'in-between' time - not quite winter and not yet spring - and I'm sure there are still a few frosts and icy blasts left to come, although in other years I have seen people wearing tee shirts in February! (and sheepskin coats in June!!).

A fifteenth century Book of Hours says it is a season for 'sitting by the fire'. And if you have ever sat in front of a fire, you know how hypnotic that can be. You may have just sat there staring into the flames - watching the flickering, the dance of light and just enjoyed the space - and maybe toasting the toes!

We all need that feeling from time to time - but we also need to stretch our legs and get up from the warm glow. We need to start looking for the shoots of the coming spring - look for signs of new growth in all sorts of places, sometimes where we least expect.

Where have you seen new shoots - where have you looked?

And, importantly, how are you going to help them grow and breakthrough into new light?

In the diocese we had a wonderful, heart-warming response from parishes and the parish share collected in 2010 was higher than that originally expected - although still not quite 100%. And we know many people - Pattingham included - are giving at substantial, sacrificial levels. But that doesn't mean we can afford to take your continued generosity and ability to pay for granted. Added to which, there is the prospect of a large - a very large - percentage of our clergy approaching retirement age in the next 10 years. We cannot hope to replace them all - even though the number of people coming forward to explore vocation continues to gently rise. So there will be a process of consultation and planning going forward into the next 2-3 years to determine where God is leading his Church and how we can best resource it in the years to come.

When Archbishop Rowan visited us in November he was frequently asked what the church would look like in 10 years time? "Different" was his consistent if somewhat enigmatic reply. When we sit by the fire, we often muse of how things could be different and also of what we are going to do when it gets a little warmer - well, are your toes warm enough now to make a start on those plans?

We are continuing to focus on 'Going for Growth' in the Diocese and in this Parish, but with the recognition that it is our spiritual growth that needs to be nurtured as much as encouraging new people into our churches. Lent is fast approaching - the key 'growing' season for our faith as much as Spring is the key growing season in our gardens. Why not think about coming along to the Lent course being offered here in Pattingham - or, if you cannot make Monday evenings, the same course will be on offer on different days throughout the Churches Together in Albrighton and Area patch. So somewhere will be a session that you can build into your week.

February - a good month to plan and get ready for the action to come in March and beyond!

God bless you and keep you,