Letter - January 2001
you remember Rector Moxon? I
suspect not. He left Astbury in the
17th Century! In his 9
years between 1653 and 1662, the powers-that-be must have smiled on George Moxon.
Thomas Cromwell appointed him Assistant Commissioner to the board of
"Triers". Their job was to test "the learning and general
sufficiency" of clergy seeking an appointment. I had to smile to myself when I read this from John
Cartlidge's article on Moxon in last July's Chronicle. You see, I got a phone call towards the end of the year
asking if I would join the modern-day "Triers", the C of E's national
body who select candidates for the ordained ministry.
years since Moxon, the selection criteria concerning what makes a suitable Vicar
appear to have changed considerably. No
longer am I allowed to reject a candidate if they are "guilty of
encouraging dancing", though I would still take a dim view if they were
caught "speaking ill of Puritans"!
of Moxon hangs by the mirror in the Vestry. He looks back at me as I check myself for the remains of
Sunday's breakfast before following the choir out for Mattins. It was Moxon's own fate to be judged. He was ejected from Astbury in 1662 in a similar manner to
many other "dissenting" clergy. The
powers-that-be had changed, and he was found wanting.
His main crime was a disinclination to use the Prayer Book (still a
capital offence in Astbury I believe?)
sought the religious freedom of the New World.
He founded a congregation in Springfield Massachusetts before returning
to Dane Bridge, Congleton, where he pastored and preached until his death 25
years after his expulsion from Astbury. He
is still remembered by a memorial in Congleton United Reformed Church.
know what 2001 holds for you and me? A
few twists and turns perhaps? Some
of us will find favour, some will not. We may get a job, we may lose a job. We may find one door opens, another shuts firmly in our face.
From time to time, people we hardly know will decide our fate.
But life goes on. God's plan
know the plans I have for you.
for good and not for ill.
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah
Whatever the future holds, may I wish you a very happy New Year. If it doesn't exactly work out quite as you'd planned, maybe just maybe, it's because God has a bigger plan in mind?
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