Bishop Paul’s Thought for the Day and Prayer for our 850th anniversary
Sefton Parish Church 850th anniversary
Bishop Paul writes:
In the year 1170, the average life expectancy was somewhere between 25 and 30 years. Only 5% of monks survived to be 45. Even kings and queens were lucky to live to be 50. About a third of people died in childhood. Plagues, wars and illness were a constant backdrop to people’s lives.
It was in this dark and difficult time that Christian people in Sefton decided to build a church, so that the love and hope of God would shine a light into the world and so that people could worship and could receive care and help in their need.
Over the centuries, each generation contributed its own art and skill so that the worship of God would reflect their own time as well as the long traditions of the Church. And now, 850 years later, that church is still here and so is the Christian community, and in our own dark and difficult time the light, grace and hope of God continues to shine.
I’m so sorry not to be able to be with the people of St Helen’s in person for this anniversary - but glad and proud that although the building cannot be open for public worship, the Church remains open. Open, in the sense that God’s people are living, praying and loving as they have always been. Thank you all, each in your different ways, for keeping in touch with one another by telephone and letter as well as on the internet. Thank you for your prayers, each in your own home, which continue the symphony of prayer that has lasted for so long in your community.
The Church of England is here for God and for England. God never changes, but England is changing all the time - never more quickly than in these strange days of Coronavirus. My prayer for all at Sefton Parish Church in this anniversary year is a simple one - that you will all treasure the wonderful traditions of your church and your community, and that you will continue to serve that wider community in your generation, just as for 850 years each generation has done. May God bless you with health, and strength, and joy in these days, and on into the future! Stay safe.
A prayer on the anniversary of the dedication of a church:
to whose glory we celebrate the dedication of this house of prayer:
we praise you for the many blessings
you have given to those who worship you here:
and we pray that all who seek you in this place may find you,
and, being filled with the Holy Spirit,
may become a living temple acceptable to you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen