Letter from Sandy Emery, Associate Priest - July 2018

As the countryside flourishes I look around me in the profound silence and I give thanks to the Creator. How could I not? When after all we live in an area of outstanding natural beauty. How do we describe it? I have heard some say it is like heaven on earth. Others use the word ‘awesome’ which is a distressingly overused word nowadays, but it was for this that the word was intended. I think that for many people today an approach to the divine is made most easily through the natural world. I might like to think that being introduced to the person of Jesus would bring people to their knees, but experience suggests that, in our highly secularised culture, a walk on the hills or digging in a garden is, for many people, a surer guide to the geography of God. This is where Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s words ring true for many people:

‘Earth’s crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God,
but only he who sees
takes off his shoes.’

The natural world around them witnesses to God’s kindness, God’s love and God’s holiness. Where do we see and find God? In church, on the Common, in our garden or a country walk, sitting beside a lake or river or looking at a view of breath taking scenery or even in other people? We possibly also see God in birth, in new life. I am acutely aware as I sit at my desk watching my bird feeder as little fledglings come with the adults to be feed. Our churchwarden Mandy is also aware of the miracle of new birth as she has another new granddaughter joining the family. And as our retired priest Alison, who has just become a grandmother again, exclaimed ‘what a wonderful thing new life is’! Soon we will all see new life as the cattle on the common start to have their calves and we enjoy them following their mothers and then frolick- ing with the others. New life is just so precious not only to us but also to God for he is all around us in creation for he is our Creator, caring for us, loving us and forgiving us.

It is no wonder that the Diocese of Gloucester’s Vision Statement is from the Gospel of John 10:10 “I have come that they may have LIFE, and have it to the full.” I ask then what is our responsibility with this life that has been given so graciously to us? Our goal is clear as disciples – that we bring the good news to everyone and proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord. Or we should do! We should bring the good news, that Jesus Christ is Lord and we should turn from worthless things in this world to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that’s in them.’ This is how I see new birth within us all, to discard our old lives and become followers of Jesus Christ.

News relating to our Vacancy. I am pleased to say that by the time you read this that our Benefice Parish Profile has been written and that the post is being advertised for the appointment of our new Rector. Interviews are due to take place the end of September. Please continue to keep us in your prayers and pray that God will send us the right person to become our new Rector.

With love and best wishes

Sandy

Letter from John Spiers, Associate Priest - June 2018

At the time I am writing this letter Holy Trinity Minchinhampton have just had a service of rededication. Then two days later there was a meeting at Holy Trinity Amberley to give the congregation the opportunity to review the pro-posed plans for a shop at the rear of the church.
When you read this article the congregation of Holy Trinity Minchinhampton will be exploring how to use what is now a beautiful warm flexible space for more than regular worship. I am unsure where the conversation concerning the shop at Holy Trinity Amberley will have got to but I hope and pray that it will have been conducted with respect for differing views.

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Letter from Sandy Emery, Associate Priest

Sandy EmeryBy the time you read this letter I do hope that we will be having sunny days to enable us to enjoy our gardens and walking on the common. We have had a long cold snowy winter so it is wonderful to have better weather to look forward to so we can enjoy the surrounding countryside we are fortunate to have. 

When May arrives, I think of Minchinhamp-ton getting back to normal with the cows on the Common holding up the traffic as usual and amusing us as the Highlanders wander through the High Street displaying their fine horns! 

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Letter from John Spiers, Associate Priest

These days it seems that joyous events can take a lot of preparation. Anyone who has had a part in organising a wedding can tell you that. A wedding in church or a wedding at a venue, they all seem to need a lot of preparation, although the Church of England wedding web site does give you tips on how to reduce the cost and make a wedding simpler

And preparation is what Christians have been doing since Ash Wednesday way back in February. For me, a priest in the Church of England, writing an article at the start of Lent that will be read around Eastertide seems odd. Surely we need to have spent six week of preparation during Lent before we can think about Easter let alone celebrate Easter. This may be a mind-set of some Christians. We must have observed a holy Lent before we have that brief outburst of immense joy that is Easter. Certainly observing Lent is important. Why? Recently two comments reminded me that this long time of reflection, meditation and self-denial is important.

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Letter from Sandy, Associate Priest

I always get excited at this time of year when everything in God’s creation awakens from the harshness of winter and the dark evenings are getting shorter. We have the snowdrops, crocuses and now the daffodils are poking their heads up and in sheltered spots they are even flowering. The evenings are getting lighter and the birds in the garden are becoming more active especially on days when the sun shines. Doesn’t it just lift your spirits! And all of this is the glory of what God has given us in creation.

I reflect each day in thanksgiving and gratitude to God for giving me the eight years of ministry among all of you and for all that we have done together. I would not be able to serve you without your great encouragement, help and love.

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