As we prepare to move to St. John’s Upper Holloway after Sunday 10th June, it is very hard to believe we have only been part of this Benefice and the communities our three churches sit at the heart of, for just short of four years. Time has literally flown by with so much happening, rendering the length of time much less important I think. None the less, it does seem very strange to be saying goodbye. We will take with us so many special memories: for example, Christmas and the glorious variety of services will be unforgettable; Remembrance Sunday an honour to share in; the two church schools feel like home; the Village Lunch in Dane End; St. Mary’s at the School; the Oasis group for women and the Men’s group; the youth ministry and so many supportive people inside and outside the church who have welcomed us into your lives, thank you all.
So why is it time for us to move on? The timing of things is always hard to decide and then explain, but we know our ‘calling’ in God is to remind and equip the church to be what God designed it to be. For us, church is like a lifeboat, always ready to rescue and save people, equipping and training those already onboard to love God and help others. I believe the greatest privilege in this life, is to help someone to know how much God loves them and to help one another grow in a relationship with Jesus. Why is the lifeboat analogy so important? Over time it is possible for something so important as a lifeboat to end up being used in very different ways. For example, a lifeboat can morph into a luxury cruise ship for those doing well in life, pandering to their every need, like an exclusive club, however friendly it is. Or, a boat offering tourist trips, giving people an interesting experience and history lesson and then returning them to shore once again. The church in very similar ways, can forget what it is here for - a luxury cruise ship, historic building?
Our best memories of serving churches are always found in the people who discover how special they are to God; in those who begin to hunger after God; who want their faith to be relevant to their everyday life; who become part of a small group growing in faith together; who want nothing more than to pray for and help others to know Jesus in their hearts too; a lifeboat with the most amazing team already on board, waiting to help others. We hope we have helped our churches to be more like that!
Thank you for welcoming and loving us, as we have loved you, in this short but very special period.
Alan Comfort, Rector