1 May 2015
In my last magazine piece, where I introduced myself and the family, I started by saying that “It’s all change”, and that word just keeps on jumping up at me. Change – one of the most dreaded words in some church circles, and yet one of the most essential things for human survival.
You know the old joke about how many Anglicans it takes to change a light bulb, right? (CHANGE ? … CHANGE ??? – we don’t do CHANGE). Well, I did say it was old!
But change is all around us. In just the last couple of weeks, as I write this, we’re seeing warm sunny days after the rain and cold of winter. The season is changing into springtime, heralded by the emergence of the blessed barbecues from their winter hibernations, and the daffs and other bulbs coming above the surface to decorate our countryside with colour once again.
Of course, all of the things I’ve seen since taking up my post here have particularly been a change for me. From the wonderful Christmas Tree Festivals in Tavistock and Mary Tavy, to the Messy Church sessions in Whitchurch School, it’s all new things in a new place, and very heartening to see. Then there’s us as a team, who have the privilege to lead our churches. Since I arrived, we’ve been delighted to welcome Chris to the lead role at St Eustachius’, and John Higman has at last got his piece of paper proving that he’s the true Rector of Mary and Peter Tavy.
I can’t help but feel that our Lord is adding to and strengthening his team here in the Tavistock area of churches so things can change and grow. When we met as a team of clergy and other leaders a while ago, there was a very real sense of wanting to work together for the benefit of the whole, whilst being able to maintain and support the very necessary distinctiveness of all our churches. This way, we can serve more people in ways that most closely meet their spiritual needs, by serving God through our different traditions.
For my part, as well as helping at Peter and Mary Tavy, I am delighted to have been given the role of pastoral oversight of St James’ Church, which at Easter was a year old, and like a toddler of the same age, it is starting to stand strong as a church in its own right. It offers another way of being church, different to our other churches, but equally as faithful in discipleship and nurture for those who come to try it out. Its contemporary feel clearly isn’t for everyone, but we’re delighted to continue to welcome new people who are finding that it meets them at their point in their Christian journey. Like the other members of the leadership team of St James, I am sure that the Lord wishes to add to the numbers there in the coming year, and I hope that the same will be true of our other churches too.
More change is upon us at Whitchurch, as Sean takes his well-deserved sabbatical, to unwind, refresh and re-charge. I know that he plans to travel a bit, and to experience the wealth of different traditions in some other places, which I’m sure will bring blessings to both him and those he joins with. We all wish him a very holy and fruitful sabbatical, and look forward to seeing the new, enthusiastic(?) Sean who will return to us after the summer.
So how do you feel about change then? Is it something to embrace to see where it takes us, or is it best ignored and left to others? We’ve all done some new and different things over the last couple of years, and I’m sure we have felt the benefit of them. Now it’s time to seek the Lord’s face to see what new things he would have us do, as fits our own churches, to enable the Spirit to move in new ways, and for springtime to come afresh to each of our church families. “See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 May the Lord Bless us all in our churches as we seek to serve Him
Revd David Coleman
1 May 2015
An “Easter” Thank You Holy Week and Easter 2015 has been a wonderfully moving celebration across our Benefice.
Thank you to everyone from all our churches who helped to make this so special. We have enjoyed beautiful worship and prayer, reflections and readings, uplifting music, children’s plays, the sound of our bells, lovely flowers, and much more as we have thought again about the life of Christ, celebrated Easter, and shared the Good News. All our churches have been beautifully prepared and many have spoken to me of the warmth of welcome they have received. I am grateful to everyone for all the hard work and dedication involved that has helped make this such a memorable celebration. Thank you all.
At the beginning of April our Parochial Church Councils were advised by Bishop Robert that the legal formalities for the creation of the benefice have been completed. Our Benefice is now officially known as, Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor, and consists of the parish of St Eustachius, Tavistock, the parish of St Paul, Gulworthy, and the parish of St Michael de Rupe with Christ Church, Brentor. The title of “Vicar” has been re-instated and replaces that of “Priest-in-Charge” for me and future incumbents.