From The Rector's Desk

From the Rector’s Desk 19 August 2022

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

I spent some of this week on the Clergy Retreat which was a reflection on St Paul’s words from Phil 3: 13,14:

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.”

Herein, St Paul teaches us that we are our history, but that we transcend it. In other words, we must acknowledge that we are a product of our History but that “In Christ” we are not governed nor ruled by it. It does not own us. We need to forgive ourselves and others we need to take from the lessons learned and be willing to move forward. In this sense, forgetting is not denying nor downplaying it, but it means that we do not allow our past to define our identity. Our identity is in Christ and who we were was just the passage ( the journey)  toward what God is moulding us to be.

What of our past is still holding onto us and preventing us from the freedom which Christ offers? Repent of it and be set free. Press on towards what God has in store for you, both now in this life and what lies ahead.

The Pattern of Scripture is revealed through its story. The Egyptian Slavery, the deliverance from Egypt across the red sea, life in the wilderness, life in the promised land, and life in exile, is the story of our personal life journey. Furthermore, it is not a once-off pattern. In each area of our lives, in each of our complex human dimensions, we go through these processes. And we must not be afraid of them.

Whether it be an addiction that keeps us in Egypt or a mindset that takes time for us to be liberated from, the point is that not every part of your life is lived in the same “state.” In certain parts of your life, you may well be struggling with your theology around a specific issue. That’s okay, it does not negate your faith.

As it was with Moses; God has sown in your life the truth of His being, but we are raised in a secular world ( courts of Egypt); but at some point, we will have a reminder that God wants something different for us,   our response to this is ‘putting to death of the sinful life,’ but it doesn’t always go the way we imagined. Do not be afraid,  God leads us on a path of discovery, as he did with Moses. In God’s perfect timing he reveals his truth ( burning Bush experience) and brings us into his plan of salvation for all people ( not just for ourselves).

Therefore, whether you are absorbed in your secular activities or feel that you are in a place of uncertainty, or you are experiencing great spiritual fervour; all of these are encounters with God leading you, preparing you, growing you, to be liberated and be a liberator, in Christ. God is including you in His great Salvation plan for the world.

So do not be held captive by your past or your present, but submit to the Holy Spirit who will lead you. Offer yourself as a living sacrifice that will be useful to God, and press on towards the prize that God has for you; intimacy with Christ, both now and in the life to come.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.”

Choose faith not fear – love drives out fear!

Be assured of my prayers.

Fr Andrew.

From The Rector's Desk

From the Rectors Desk 12 August 2022

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

In His closing address to the Lambeth Conference, the Archbishop sent the Bishops back out into the world with the words -” Do not fear.”  St John said, “Perfect love drives out fear.” ( 1 John 4:18)

I love that – the way that we are called to deal with fear – is to love. Fear causes us to cling to what we know, to cling to what we have, to look back (something that scripture teaches us is not a good idea – look what happened to Lots wife). Fear limits us and makes us less – we feel less, do less enjoy less, and when we fear we withdraw. Love on the other hand sets us free, free to trust, free to engage, and free to be challenged.  The Bishops have wrestled with world’s problems and have sought the face of God to engage with them. God bless our Bishops and Archbishop Welby and may Lambeth be a catalyst for a new boldness/courageousness, in God’s church.

As Archbishop pointed out; God steps into our lives to give us comfort, God seeks us out to love us, but we need to respond to that. Church (as we discussed at the St Gabriel’s council last night) is a place where we get to interact with others and develop the skills and the heart and the mindset to live out our Christian lives. Within the Church, we have differences of opinion and interpretation and expression of our faith, and it is within the church that we learn to respond to these. As I have followed some of Lambeth and as I have worked with so many Parishes this year, I have been reminded that it is within the Church that we are given space to discover and to be challenged and to be tested. Do not be disheartened by the disagreements and arguments that we have within, by the troubles that we have; do not lose heart when decisions are made that at an individual level we don’t understand or agree with. In all things ask, “what is God saying to me in and through this experience?” “What response does God seek from me?”

In every reading of scripture and every encounter with another, contemplate the situation and see the situation from every angle. Ensure that your prayer is thoughtful and exploratory – seek the wisdom and guidance from God, so that your responses can be holy.  

These three things remain, “faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love!” and love drives out fear.

Choose love, not fear!

Your servant.

Fr Andrew

From The Rector's Desk

From the Rectors Desk 13 May 2022

Grace and peace from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

I continue to pray that God will show us the path and illuminate our way and that we will honour God as we journey through this life. In the last two weeks I spent a lot of time reflecting on our spiritual versus (along with) our practical journey. The ideology of our faith and the practicality of the world we live in clash at the point of parish ministry. And we live in the tension of that space. It is true and noble and good to say that deepening our spiritual life and being more prayerful and reading scripture and enhancing our worship life together are the aims and objectives of “being church” but this must have a practical application aspect to it. Technically it is called praxis verses theory. As Franciscans we are taught that you cannot “think yourself into a new way of living-  you have to live yourself into a new way of thinking.” This means that things only become real to you when they are things that you do in your life.  Discipleship is a way of behaving, participating in the world and conducting your affairs, rather than acknowledgement of a set of principles to think by.

The challenge with this practical religion is that you must embrace all things as holy and be willing to engage with God in every aspect of your life. Your faith cannot be sanitised and clinical, it is messy and it is emotional and it is wrestling with God as opposed to simply chanting slogans.

As I repeatedly speak to, this means that the liturgy, the songs we sing and of course the scriptures, as well as our interaction with others must be held up as a mirror – reflecting to us what the impact, the meaning and the outcome, the fruit of our faith/belief/religion is. To do this our lives must be lived contemplatively – reflectively, analysing the events of our lives to determine what our actions are reflecting about our relationship with God. This way we remain repentant, and we grow.

In the Words  of St Paul ( Eph 3:16ff)   I ask that out of the riches of God’s glory Christ may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Then you, being rooted and grounded in love, will have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Then as you live your lives and put your faith and belief and religion to work you will be transformed and grow in the likeness of Jesus your saviour.

Be assured of my prayers for you as you seek the Lord and his transforming love.


From The Rector's Desk

From the Rectors Desk 6 May 2022

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.(1 Cor 1:3NIV)

I always give thanks to my God for you because of the grace he has given you through Christ Jesus.( 1 Cor 1:4 GNB)

My prayer is that our fellowship with you as believers will bring about a deeper understanding of every blessing which we have in our life in union with Christ.( Philemon 1:6 GNB)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (Eph 3:16 NIV)

As I spent time this week in Clergy School I was reminded of the power of prayer and its role in the life of the parish. I was reminded of how prayer has held us together and drawn us deeper into the presence of God, in a world where activity and outcomes and physical things have taken centre stage, we have been reminded that it is our spiritual bond developed through common worship in the reading of scripture and praying for each other, that our spirituality takes centre stage, and when all our actions stem out of prayer and contemplation God’s purposes are fulfilled.

So be faithful dear friends, God has called us to be a community of ministers of his mercy and grace. ‘God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.( 1 Peter:4:10 NLT) I want to encourage you to participate in the pastoral care of one another, the worship life of one another, to pray for each other and to build each other up in the faith. Your witness of God’s mercy and grace in your life can and should inspire others to not lose heart and to remain faithful to the Gospel which you have received. Take your prayer life seriously and put into action the gifts that God has given you to serve one another in humility and with compassion.

“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to reckless indiscretion. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord,  always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph 5:15-21 NIV)

‘Let us give glory to God! He is able to make you stand firm in your faith, according to the Good News I preach about Jesus Christ and according to the revelation of the secret truth which was hidden for long ages in the past.’( Rom 16:25 GNB)

Like St Paul longlining to see you and share the Gospel with you I assure you of my prayers and pray that you will give yourself to full participation in the life of the Church that our community may be built up and strengthened through the gifts that God has given you for the upliftment of His people.

The blessing of the Triune God be upon you.

Fr andrew

From The Rector's Desk

From the Rector’s Desk

From the Rectors Desk 8 April 2022

The Lord reigns, he is King!

This weekend we begin the Holy Week celebration, with the commemoration of the triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

As with every liturgical celebration and as with every scripture reading, it is not the recollection of a momentary event, but it is the embracing of a life truth. Palm Sunday speaks to our desire to make Jesus King for our own purposes. It is an acknowledgment that we seek a saviour from our troubles and a deliver from our enemies and we are willing to praise the God who is the Lord over all,  the all powerful one, the one who will spare us from our pain and anxiety but are not willing to suffer with Him.

Jesus accepts the praise of the people in fact he says that if the people don’t shout out the stones will. Throughout this lent I have been speaking about the God who rolls the stone away, the stone being the thing that inhibits us from being the person that we want to be in Christ. How often the demons recognised that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God before the people did. (Mt 8: 29; Mk 1:24, Lk 4:34). In this statement about the stones, we are reminded that every knee will bow every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Phil 2:10,11)

There is Good News in this, the things of this earth that we fall into temptation with, are subject to the Supremacy of God. As a line in one of my favourite songs goes “ My fear will need to face the God I know.”  God is bigger than my fear he is bigger than the challenges in my life, he can roll away the pain and suffering that life brings. But the Triumphant entry tells us that God is not going to do these things the way that we expect. Jesus did not enter Jerusalem to receive a worldly crown, that moth and rust could destroy, (Mt 6:19) but to lay down his life and take it up again. To die to self and to be raised in God, to unite with us in the thing that we fear most and conquer it. If Jesus became vulnerable like us in death and overcame death, Jesus can amend all and every aspect of our lives, there is no Sin that he will not carry and conquer for us. But we need to go to calvary with him. We need to accept the journey of the cross, too often we are like the people who wanted Jesus to do it their way, overthrow the Roman Government and establish them as the superior nation. The Hosana’s and the crucify him were shouted by the same people who wanted Jesus to be their King their way. Do not fall into the same temptation this Easter.  Your attitude must be the same as Christs, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;” (NIV)

This Holy Week let us complete our Lenten journey by going all the way and fully embracing the way of Christ. Foremost amongst our actions must be a recommitment to the Church of God. During the past two years many have fallen away and while remining recipients of the Churches teaching and support, have not participated in the things of the Church. There is a lot that has collapsed in the wake of the Pandemic, and now it is time to rebuild. Now is the time to proclaim Jesus as King and to take our place as His subjects, serving him in the community through the Church and bringing honour to God’s name.

Strengthening the local church through our participation and rededication to the life of the Church is to be our duty and our joy. Recommitting to the body of Christ is an essential part of our journey of salvation. The Church is God’s chosen way of revealing himself to the world. And it is a vulnerable way to do it. Palm Sunday describes the life of the church as a  mixture of self-righteousness and sinfulness, a proclamation of Hosana, and a denial of what God is doing in our midst. Every event in Holy week speaks to our interaction with the living God and it is critical that we get into the story and amend our lives as we journey to the resurrection.

My prayer is that this week will fill you with passion for Jesus and that you will recommit your life to the one who lived, who died, and who is Risen.

Palm Sunday 2022