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7 July 2021

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Reflection from the Rectory

 


It seems incredible that
on Saturday 10th July I will
have been ordained priest
for 25 years! I will
celebrate my silver jubilee
on Sunday 11th. In
normal times it would
have been an occasion to fill the rectory with
family from near and far and have a big service
and invite everyone to share in the celebration
but times have changed and at this time it
would not be right or wise to do so. I was really
lucky that for my 20th Anniversary, with my
mums health obviously failing, we decided to
celebrate large and we had family from all over
England and Germany with us for a glorious
and memorable weekend!
But as I approach my 25th there is a sadness at
not to be able to gather in that way, though
what a joy to be able to celebrate amongst my
family at St Michael’s and All Saints. I am
finding myself thinking back over those years
of ministry in the churches where I have been
privileged to serve; from the inner city, to leafy
suburbs and into the rural villages. Each place
has taught me valuable lessons on my own
faith journey, in both the joy and the
challenges. There have been incredible highs
and times which have been hard and
sometimes painful. It has been like all
journeys of faith a wonderful mixture of
experiences in which to discover God more
deeply, and to speak of him, both in the
laughter and through sadness.
I am very aware that I carry with me so many
blessings from each church, and so for my
anniversary I have ordered a new stole.
Many of you have commented on the hand
painted multi coloured stole which I often wear.
It was designed and made by Yvonne Bell and
Yvonne is making my new stole. The design is
again multi-coloured and will feature a vine. On
each of the leaves of that vine will be the name
of one of the churches in which I have served
during my ministry, as well as my sending
parish of St Aidan, in Leeds. Of course St
Michael’s Framlingham and All Saints Saxtead
will feature on a leaf. I hope that as I wear it, It
will be a visible reminder of all those whose
care over the years in each church have
shaped my ministry. It means that on the 11th
of July I will literally carry them and all of you to
the altar, and consciously be reminded of
those blessings.
When I think back to my priestly ordination on
the evening of Wednesday 10th July 1996, not
in a Cathedral, but in the church of St John and
St Barnabas, Belle Isle, in Leeds where I was
serving as curate, I can still remember the
nerves of sitting quietly in the Lady Chapel
before the service and wondering what God
had in store for me. Twenty five years on I am
overwhelmed by the opportunity ministry has
provided for me to learn more about myself
and about the God who calls me, calls each of
us in so many different ways and into various
ministries, because in service we encounter
that God in others, and grow in relationship
with him. I hope you will all join me on Sunday
11th July. On that Sunday there will be an
8.00 am at St Michael’s but the main service
will be at 11.00 in Framlingham to which our
Saxtead sisters and brothers are invited.
There will be a glass of something raised in
celebration afterwards. Love, Chris

A Prayer from the Iona Community
Lord Christ, Let your resurrection light radiate all our worship by the power of your Holy Spirit:
Help us to know ourselves as men and women who have been made new.
By that same power inspire us to walk even as you walked, that, going on our way in faith and gladness,

we may come at last to those things which eyes have not seen and ears have not heard,

but which you have prepared for all those who truly love you, from the beginning of the world, Amen