The Rector’s Letter
I can write that now. At last. It’s been a long time coming but I’m so thankful that it’s finally arrived.
A few years ago we went to Parc Asterix - a theme park just outside Paris. I call it a theme park. Its theme seemed to be ‘Make people wish they were somewhere else.’ The main attractions are huge all-wood roller coasters. Not sensible and solid-looking metal framed affairs that at least look like you have a fair chance of getting round in one piece. No, these proudly boasted that they were the most rickety, woodworm infested, tumbledown wooden roller coasters in the whole of Europe. (Admittedly my French isn’t that good but that’s what I’m sure the signs said. It certainly fitted with what my eyes saw.) To be fair they did look beautifully crafted and of great architectural interest and I could have stood and looked at them from a distance, a good distance, for hours.
Unfortunately, we had to go and get up close and personal. We started on the longest, tallest, most looping le loopy one. Don’t ask me why: something to do with testosterone and ego and my sons taunting. I think they enjoyed the rest of the day. Every now and then they came to visit me in my special spot, lying on the grass, trying not to fall off the planet; waiting for everything to stop spinning.
Why start with that? Well, at the top of the letter it says dear friends - and Ella and I hope we come to make many in the local area - so I feel I can start to share with you some of my failings and fears. Parc Asterix came rushing back to me because of something someone came up to me and said at my Induction. They shook me by the hand, looked intently into my eyes and said: ‘So, the rollercoaster has begun. There’s no getting off till the finish now.’
In one of those instants we’ll all have experienced where, in a split second, a whole scene can seem to play out in our minds: I was back on the grass. Thankfully, when I looked around me as I stood outside the church doors on Monday evening there weren’t any oversized Asterix characters bumbling around; just a large number of new and (and this is not crawling, merely saying it as I saw it) very friendly faces in a place where God is at work. It’s an honour and a privilege to come to minister to you and with you in a place with many centuries of prayer and worship threaded through the fabric of the community.
And if this is to be a rollercoaster ride I’m very glad it’s one in which God will be directing the route. I guess there’s one benefit of being together on a rollercoaster – it keeps us headed in the same direction. I look forward to the journey and trust that we can together fix our eyes on the author and perfector of our faith, moving forward and modelling ourselves on Him.
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