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Letter from June/July 2013

posted 1 Aug 2013, 03:29 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 1 Aug 2013, 03:29 ]

“For all that has been – Thanks; For all that shall be – Yes!”

Regular readers of The Tattler may remember that this is the prayer with which I began my very first Rector’s Letter when Alice and I arrived here on Deeside at the start of 2006. And now, seven and a half years’ later, it seemed an appropriate beginning for my final Letter, as we prepare to move to West Yorkshire where I shall be licensed as Priest-in-Charge of St John’s, Golcar, and St Mark’s, Longwood, near Huddersfield in the Diocese of Wakefield on Monday 5th August. Let me now say that you would all, of course, be most welcome at my Licensing Service at St John’s, Golcar, but given the distance between rural Aberdeenshire and West Yorkshire, I also quite understand if this is impossible for some of you. But please know that you will remain in our thoughts and prayers throughout this time.

We have loved our time with you, and feel that we have shared so much together – joys and sorrows, challenges and opportunities, and all the differing things that life in community with others has involved. It has been a particular privilege and pleasure to have shared with you two Centenary Year celebrations, the visit of several bishops from around the world to Aboyne prior to the last Lambeth Conference, the visit to Braemar of the current Bishop of Connecticut, and celebratory events for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

We shall always cherish the fun and laughter we have shared so often, while also remembering the challenges that there have sometimes been and that we have needed to work through together, and which we have come through stronger and more united. My hope is that we have also learned from each other about what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ, and that this has enhanced our faith as we continue to serve Christ through serving those around us. I certainly feel that my life has been enriched, in all sorts of ways, by being with you for these last few years, and I want to thank God for all that we have shared together – “For all that has been – Thanks.”

Yet life seldom remains static; and if for Christians life is a pilgrimage that we undertake with Christ as our companion – and I fervently believe that it is – then this will naturally involve change and travelling on. For some this may not involve an actual physical travelling, but more a change in emphasis and activity – a shift in a relationship, or a phase of life as circumstances change, or in some way a change of direction as new possibilities open up. For others, it will mean a change of location, and moving to be among new people, opportunities, and places.

The time of change comes, but the pilgrimage with Christ continues as long as we draw breath. Alice and I both feel that now is the time to go and meet these new challenges as part of our continuing journey, and we do so with regret at leaving people whom we have grown to love but also with anticipation of all that may lie ahead. “For all that shall be – Yes!”

So the journey continues! For Alice and me, it means a move to West Yorkshire and towards all that God has in store for us there. For you, it means a new stage in your lives as churches in Upper Deeside, with new people to support and guide you and to offer new ideas about how the future might be. For all of us, we do these things as Christ’s people, seeking to share the Gospel story through our lives as individuals and as members of Christian communities, and as he equips us to help make the Kingdom of God seen and recognised in the places where we are.

Let us continue to live out our faith in Christ as fully as we desire and as we are enabled to do, in the firm knowledge that God only ever works for good for those who truly love him.

Let me end with a blessing for us all:

‘May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever he may send you.
May he guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May he bring you home rejoicing at the wonders he has shown you. 
May he bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.’

(The Northumbria Community, Celtic Daily Prayer, p.13)

With every blessing,

James Curry