Church of England Diocese of Guildford Dunsfold


25 Nov 2020, 9 p.m.
Church_news Notices

My favourite psalm is 131. It’s a short, tender and intimate song. It reflects the outpouring of a mature faith, expressed in humility, trust and wisdom. After the aspirations and arrogance of youth, the psalmist has found peace, like the contentment of a weaned child. The three qualities and prayers of the psalm have been at the forefront of my mind in the last week or so.

Humility has been noticeably absent in the church, we realise, in just glimpsing the vast resource of <em>Living in Love & Faith</em>, published last week. I’m ashamed of the homophobia experienced by so many people. I hope you will join me in committing yourself anew to listening more deeply to God and others and playing your part in a humbler conversation about human sexuality.

Trust has been further shattered through the harrowing <em>IICSA Report</em> published a few weeks ago. Safeguarding is at the heart of the Gospel. Whilst I don’t expect to regain the trust of some, I hope you will join me in committing yourself anew to listening more deeply to God and courageous victims or survivors, and playing your part in ensuring a safer, more trustworthy church.

Wisdom is rather late to the Creationtide party - highlighted at our diocesan synod last week. I was aghast at the fact that by 2030 the effects of <em>climate change</em> will have plunged another 120 million people into abject poverty. Again, I hope you will join me in committing yourself to listening more deeply to God and scientists and playing your part in being environmentally wiser.

I received an email from one of my colleagues this week who understandably feels rather overwhelmed by these agendas: ‘With all that’s going on at the moment, I don’t know if I have capacity to change people’s attitudes to human sexuality, embrace all the implications of IICSA and solve climate change… certainly not if you want it all done before Christmas!’.

My sense is that this is not all about doing but being, becoming and mature faith. Let's pray that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we may be transformed into a church which, reflecting the psalmist, is more humble, trustworthy and wise. Much of this is rooted in repentance, listening and judgement: appropriate themes on the threshold of Advent.

Archdeacon Paul