Saying farewell to Rev. Geoffrey and Rosemary Pengelly as they moved into retirement brought an end to an era, Geoffrey having served as parish priest here for 29 years, which is a notable feat in modern times. Geoffrey’s faithful service brought a stability and a continuity of ministry for everyone in the community, regardless of whether or not they were church goers. We look back over this time and give thanks for all that has been over the years.
But we also look forward with great anticipation. Changing times bring new opportunities. We have certainly seen some unexpected and unanticipated changes this year, and not just for ourselves and our communities, but across the world. At the turn of the year who would have thought that “social distancing” and the wearing of masks would become part of everyday life? And these things have affected the church as much as every other part of life. We have had to ask ourselves, what does it mean to be Church or to be the Body of Christ in these days? How can we worship God together, while apart? How can we reach out to our neighbours in Christ’s name while isolated from one another?
Let us not forget how this year’s crisis has revealed our human frailties and reminded us that we are not as self-sufficient as we like to pretend. That we are not really masters of our own destiny, but that our times and our future are in God’s hands. Although much changes around us, God does not, and the gospel of God’s saving love in Christ does not change.
As we look forward to all that lies ahead in these parishes, let us be ever mindful of the presence of God, and seek His guidance as we give thanks for faithful ministries in times past and as we seek His will for what is to come.