“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”

My inspiration for mission and evangelism, before I was even aware that that was what it was, is in hearing the blessing “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”.

Hearing that blessing fills me with a warmth, an excitement, and encourages me to carry the presence of Christ into the world.

I try to achieve this by loving and serving God with all my heart and soul through prayer, reflection and worship, aware that the transforming touch of God needs to come from within.

I try to demonstrate that I can love my neighbours by treating them with love and respect. This could be through the simple act of taking time to talk with an elderly parishioner after a service, through the act of friendship, being someone to listen, being welcomed by those who are lonely, or making a phone call to check in with someone who has been struggling with illness or family breakdown. I try to actively proclaim the Gospel and the Good News of God’s love for all by using encouraging words and by physically demonstrating, through positive actions, that I am nurturing God’s love in others.

Praying for people seems such an obvious start, but it is easy to overlook, and I have a list of people who I pray for regularly. While I worked for CWR, our prayer partners prayed for each member of staff on set days of the month, for us personally, for our role in the organisation, for our families and that we would use our individual gifts to work for God. The knowledge that 300+ people I may never meet were diligently praying for me brought an overwhelming feeling of strength and comfort. It inspired me to try to live up to their expectations, to be a better person, a more diligent Christian.

At times of darkness in my life, prayer and the prayers of others have help me to feel that I was never alone. The Bible tells us in many verses but specifically in Psalm 23, that we do not walk alone, and that even in times of darkness God is ever present.

Pastoral care and chaplaincy allow me the privilege of walking a journey with those who need encouragement or understanding by helping them to find the light in the darkness.

Nothing can replace basic pastoral ministry in getting to know the people God has put in your path, learning to love and cherish them, to listen them and to help them slowly discover what God’s plan is in their life.

In my current role working with 16 to 25-year-olds predominantly coming out of the care system I enjoy helping them to remove the labels that society has placed on them by helping them to see that they are loved, and are able to be a valued part of the world in their own right.

Building trust and being an example of a disciple is an important part of this. This trust is built by providing a listening ear, by making a cup of tea or being the one who accompanies them to doctors’ appointments, who cheers when they achieve something – this might all appear simple to others, but it is an enormous step forward to someone with a mental health issue, for example.

The privilege of this role is when a young person will ask for prayer or for me to explain a why I am a Christian. By being a consistent reminder to them of the nurturing nature of Jesus Christ, I feel I can work to bring peace and reconciliation to areas of society that have become despondent and to those who find themselves without hope.

It takes at times a brazen nerve to approach people who don’t want to interact, who are wary of changes and who are frightened to put their head above the parapet. It has involved taking small steps, allowing confidence both in myself and their abilities to grow, but if I am willing to take this step of faith I am assured that God moves mountains to encourage and strengthen those I move amongst.

The world and the church both face many challenges, and the next generation will need the church and the love that it offers the community in ways we cannot comprehend. To allow this to happen we must look out into our communities and play active parts in creating God’s kingdom here on earth by showing love in action.

Worship on a Sunday should inspire us with prayer and liturgy, yet it also alerts us to our responsibilities as Christians to encourage the wider world to engage with and become involved with all manner of mission, and to go in peace to love and serve the Lord.




ALM adventure

So following the “Living Faith” course we are all geared up to take our faith and share the joy and enthusiasm or are we?

Well and truly hooked on learning more about my faith and my place in God’s plan, the opportunity to join the Pastoral Care Elective was too good to pass up.

ALM – Authorised Lay Ministry – The Next Frontier!

This parish based ministry is deeply rooted in the Dioceses Strategy. It’s an active response to local needs and an exciting new form of ministry in the Chichester Diocese,  in an active and positive time of change.

Now that might read like a PR statement but it is how I genuinely feel.  I have been on the coal face of things not quite working, communications not reaching the rural parishes in time, initiatives based on large town or city churches and the apparent dismissal of the gifts of the laity to contribute to active church life.

I know all aspects of the diocese need work, updating systems, implementing procedures and finding ways to actively supporting our clergy as they gather flocks, work in our changing society and do what they are called to do – bring us to Jesus.

ALM is not about taking any of the responsibility away from the clergy but it is about recognising and equipping the laity in the knowledge and skills that are needed to be an active team member working in the parish for the greater good.

After being trained and authorised by the  Bishop it is hoped that we (ALM’s) will lead or help establish a team of people in our parish to undertake various tasks and or to help develop the gifts and potential of others.

During the introduction evening we were reminded that at Baptism we are called to be disciples, called to be our true  and unique self’s  and to follow Jesus. This is just the next step along the constant road we are journeying along.

So the training promises to be interactive, reflective, challenging and diverse, their words not mine but having experienced last year I have no reason to doubt that will be the case. I learned so much from shared experiences, discussions with people from different backgrounds and from listening to what was actually being said to me.

I am hoping the reflective journals we are being asked to keep will the something that I will grow to appreciate and give me the opportunity (like this blog) to look back and see just how far I have travelled and how far I still have to go.

However with the song “KLF 3am Eternal” as an ear worm every time I say ALM. (Google it) In the words of the song “KLF is going to rock you!!”.

I rather hope it will be “ALM is going to ROCK me”



Ordinary Times

Listening to a work colleague leading a prayer session, I marvelled at how close she had become to the Lord in the time I had known her and how her naïve look at Christianity was endearing and made us realise we shouldn’t take things for granted.

Now that might sound patronising and that was really not my intention but when she referred to seasons I have been doing so much reading up on being a proper Anglican that I automatically thought Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Ordinary Time.

Not that either of us is incorrect just that we are both looking at the same time zones in a different light.

But we are in the “Ordinary Time” church season and in that lovely time of year when we still get warm sun but that we can enjoy  a crisp morning and the smell that autumn is just a blink away.

It’s a time to see the world around us changing from children starting school for the first time or heading off to university. To drag those woolly jumpers out the wardrobe and to look for new winter boots.

It’s a time to shed our excess, like the trees that shed their leaves, and to hunker down and prepare not only for winter  and for the long dark evening ,where the opportunity to read and reflect is a welcome thought . Warm cuddle blankets on the sofa and a good book. Perfect.

So maybe moving on from leaves we are really de cluttering our life, shedding the activities of summer, recouping time to  explore and be with God.

Like the seed safe in the warm earth, is winter our time to grow in Christ?

I hope so.

Blessings x