The Inside Column 19/8

Posted in: The Inside Column- Aug 20, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

From the Bishops charge at Synod…

My faith has been tested in ways I never imagined: I have experienced intense loneliness, the sleepless nights accompanying the dark night of the soul. I have also experienced such incredible support, encouragement, love and joy – right across the whole Diocese. So, my ‘bullet points’ – and I repeat, they are a couple of insights that these 12 years of ministry have taught me.

  • I have come to love the Anglican Church more and more and the institution less and less. I was born into the Anglican Church. I am an Anglican by heritage rather than by choice and so I never had much inclination to explore the roots of the church, until I became a Bishop and discovered, in the ordination vows, that I was to guard and teach the historic faith. This realization came at a time when many within the Diocese, clergy and lay, were dismissing the Anglican Church as irrelevant – well past its used-by date. And I must add that if we’re talking about the institution (with all its trappings) I couldn’t agree more. But I’m not talking about an institution. I’m referring to the uniquely different church that emerged out of the Reformation in the UK – uniquely different to other Reformation churches. I used to describe being Anglican as having one foot in the sacramental tradition and the other in the biblical tradition – a rather simplistic, but not incorrect, description of how our church began. The Anglican Church is a Church that sought to keep a balance between the  traditional worship patterns of historic Christianity, reshaped and reformed by a renewed respect for the authority of scripture; A Church that balanced, in its liturgies, the fundamentals of the faith with the mystery of faith. A church that believes that the gospel is the good news of Jesus and the good news of the kingdom.
  • Things don’t seem as black and white as they used to. We minister today within a world made up of a thousand shades of grey. But I have learned that although I must minister in some very grey areas, my faith must never become grey. I was drawn back to the Sermon on the Mount as I was writing this second bullet point. It is an incredible Christian manifesto – discipleship in a nutshell. But it is also black and white! Just in the last part of this Sermon alone – Chapter 7 of Matthew’s Gospel – there is a wide gate and there is a narrow gate. There is a good tree with good fruit and there is a bad tree with bad fruit. There are good disciples and there are bad disciples. There is a house built on the rock and there is a house built on the sand. There is black and there is white!

Words for us all to think about…

Phil

 

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