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Dear Friends

Well… what a week! The highlight for me was when the St. Mark’s Vestry agreed to a new pattern of Sunday worship from October to December. Peter describes this development in his piece later on in the newsletter. I suppose the important question is “Why?” Why change the pattern of worship? Why change the way we do things? Well, the answer is simple. We are trying to be true to our commitment to proclaim the gospel ‘afresh’ to this generation and be witnesses to God’s love. You may not know but that first part of that last sentence is lifted directly from my ordination vows. Here’s a snippet…

The Anglican Church is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation.

Proclaim afresh. That’s what we do. In fact, that’s the beauty and the history of the Christian church throughout the world since the time of Christ. The Gospel is not tied to any specific culture, any specific formula, or any specific resource. The Gospel is tied to Christ who is the rock, but the mode and method of communication, the expression of faith, and the places it finds its home, are up for grabs. This is why the Gospel can speak to everyone in any context. In fact, I would go further to suggest that the Holy Spirit compels and propels us to proclaim the gospel and be witnesses to God’s love to every tribe, culture, people, and nation. There is no-one that God doesn’t want to reach with his love.

We are Anglicans and we like to express our faith in certain ways. The reason I am an Anglican and not AME, Baptist, Pentecostal, or any other denomination, is partly convenience. It’s the Church that I grew up in and nurtured my own faith. But it’s not just by convenience but also by conviction. The Anglican church is known for its inclusivity. Everyone is welcome. It also holds in balance a mixture of tradition, the Bible, common sense, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. All four aspects are important to us.

So where am I going with this? Well, I guess I want to reassure people that we’re not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Some of the traditions of the church are important to us and we will keep them. For example, the pattern of our worship will include those aspects of preparation, confession, readings, thanksgiving/communion, and blessing. We will always have teaching based on the Bible – with good, solid exegesis and theology which is applied to our everyday lives. We will use our God-given common sense when it comes to making decisions and be loving and inclusive to all. And we will listen to the Holy Spirit to inspire us; to be our guide and to lead us.

From October, we are taking a risk, but the risk isn’t to our faith because our faith is in Jesus Christ. No, the risk is that we might feel a bit ‘out of our comfort zone’. However, we are taking a risk for the sake of those that don’t yet come to church and don’t yet know our Lord and Saviour. Why? Because He took the ultimate risk with us.

Heaps of Peace and Blessings

Rev Gav