Monday, 6 December 2010

Saddened but not surprised

There are occasions when one although not surprised is still saddened by an event. This came over me when I read the entry in the blog of Fr Ed about a visitation to his parish which you can find here.
The Bishop of Tonbridge and the Archdeacon of Tonbridge have descended upon this Parish regarding the Ordinariate. It seems that the Archdeacon made it clear that he will do his utmost to ensure that St Barnabas is not ecumenically shared as happens in many CofE buildings up and down the country. On the one hand, this brings home the fact that some people, including here at St John’s, are “keen” on working with other Christians as long as they are not Roman Catholic, even though they do not say it in so many words; sad really, especially when one thinks of those prayers for Christian Unity which have been offered for years and years. On the other hand, I am not surprised as I always believed that if there is an Ordinariate bound group it is better for them, spiritually and practically, to join the local RC congregation. This does not only provide for them a clean break and a fresh start but also makes them part of a larger community of Christians. Here at St John’s we are considered to be a strong CofE parish as we have around a hundred people every Sunday. However, I am led to believe that the local RC church has over a thousand! If there is to be a group from St John’s it will be better for them, as I believed all along, to join in with the RC Church and be part of a larger community locally and internationally. What a joy it must be to be part of a large community of fellow Christians with all the pro’s and con’s that this might bring.
What I feel in conscience bound to keep on proclaiming is that those who stay and those who go need to keep focused on Jesus and sustain the bonds of charity to the utmost, anything short of this will not be worthy of the name Christian. At this time, people need space to pray and discern their future. At this difficult and painful time decisions need to be respected not tolerated and we need to help and support each other during this period of discernment and also and especially when transitions, if any, are made. If there is to be a parting of friends let it happen in love. If there is no love, then there is the absence of God and the absence of God is hell. Christians exist to model and bring about the Kingdom which is and is yet to come where God, who is love, reigns supreme. Wherever you stand or wherever you seek keep your eyes fixed on Jesus!

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