Minister's letter

A message for the summer

 

from the Rev. Bob Conway
 

 

 


 

Dear Friends

 

As I write this month’s Minister’s Message, we are in the process of reopening our churches of all denominations as the Covid-19 lockdown situation begins to see some relaxation. Ministers from the Fromeside Benefice churches have, for some time, taken the opportunity to conduct the morning and evening office in their respective churches several times per week and you may have heard the local parish calling bell being rung at different times to indicate that the office of morning or evening prayer is about to take place.

 

Further to this, the Fromeside Benefice Churches have begun to allow everyone to come into church for ‘private prayer’. Each of our churches are opening for this on two occasions every week. For example, St Michael's is open is open to all who wish to pray on Wednesday mornings from 10-1 and on Saturdays from 14.30.-17.30 and St Peter’s Frampton Cotterell on a Thursday morning from 09:30 to 12:30 and on a Sunday from 14:30 to17:30. For the times of opening for other churches within the Benefice and for churches of other denominations, please see their respective websites and notice boards.

 

 

Having been present at the St Peter’s sessions and from talking to others, I know that my colleagues and I have had the privilege of welcoming a goodly number of individuals into church simply to pray. I believe that many of those who have taken the big step to re-engage with their local church building have found a real level of positive emotional release and comfort, simply from being with God in what many of us see as a holy and sacred space in which people have prayed and connected with God for hundreds of years. I encourage all of you who haven’t yet made the decision to give it a try.  I’m sure that God would love you to join him.

 

Looking forward towards the future I was struck by the collect for the first Sunday of July, the 4th Sunday after Trinity, which is as follows:

 

“O God, the protector of all who trust in you,

without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:

increase and multiply upon us your mercy;

that with you as our ruler and guide

we may so pass through things temporal

that we lose not our hold on things eternal;

grant this, heavenly Father;

for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.”

 

 

Many of us have lost some level of trust in numerous things that we once felt very confident about, whether they be government, local organizations, other institutions, certain individuals or even our cars, which having not moved for weeks, suddenly needed new batteries! (Not mine so far, but one never knows… because I have heard of many.)

 

Throughout all we have passed through, and indeed all we still have yet to pass through, for me the timeless truth of the 4th Sunday of Trinity collect is simply that we understand that it is only our reliance upon God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that will allow us to “pass through things temporal”, whether they be Covid-19 or any other worldly thing which causes us pain or distress of any kind, by assisting us to maintain our individual hold on things eternal in the reality of God’s true love for us as his children. No matter what is going on around us.

 

I wish everyone joy in their participation in the family of God in the coming weeks, and a wonderful summer break, in the assurance of God’s love for us all.

 

 

 

Every blessing, Bob,

Bob Conway,

Associate Minister Fromeside Benefice