It was great that so many members of St Leonard’s and St Margaret’s were present at Mike Print’s Institution and Induction at St George’s, Chorley on 19th May. I know that this will have meant a lot to both Mike and Natalie; more than that, it shows that our congregations are loving and supportive towards their clergy.
There’s a telling appeal that Paul makes in his second letter to the Corinthians where he writes this: “Make room in your hearts for us.” (7:2) It’s clear from the two letters to the Corinthians that the relationship between the Apostle and the church in Corinth had become very strained. Though Paul continued to love them dearly, increasingly they were dismissive of his ministry and on top of that he knew that they lacked warmth towards him as a person. Notice that these two negative attitudes go hand in hand. If a Christian harbours an attitude of personal dislike, or even contempt, towards a church leader, then it’s almost impossible for that Christian to gain any benefit from his ministry – even if the ministry is grudgingly recognised as a faithful one.
To put it another way, we’re nurtured in our loving relationship with Christ through our loving relationships with each other; God’s truth doesn’t come to us impersonally. As Paul says in another letter, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.” (Colossians 3:16) So love towards clergy is crucial – even though we’re full of flaws and failings like every other Christian!
Talking of clergy, with Mike and Natalie’s departure it’s wonderful that we have Kit and Laura Walker with us. Kit came to us as a lay minister last autumn, but I’m delighted that Bishops Julian and Philip have agreed that Kit should be ordained this summer and become our curate. Kit will be a Self-Supporting Minister. This means that the Church of England won’t be paying him a stipend as they did for Mike, instead he must rely on an alternative income. In Kit’s case we’re finding the money as a parish.
Please don’t think that Blackburn is being stingy in doing this – they’re stretched to the limit supporting other stipendiary curates around the Diocese. Can I also mention that the Diocese is letting us house Kit, Laura and the boys rent-free in 14 Bendwood Close – which is a great help with our costs.
Kit’s ordination as a deacon is on Sunday 30th June at St John’s Whittle-le-Woods at 10.30am. Regrettably this clashes with the visit of our Crosslinks Mission Partner, Rev Alun Burt. Therefore, the plan is to send token support to Kit’s ordination but encourage most of us to be at St Leonard’s and St Margaret’s to hear Alun and Debbie’s news from South Africa. However, there are plans for a parish lunch that day so that we can all congratulate Kit and see him in his dog-collar! Please try to be there to show your love.
Yours in Christ