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
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
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
February - a good month to plan and get ready for the action
to come in March and beyond!
God bless you and keep you,