Letter from the clergy - Friday 26 February 2021

First published on: 26th February 2021

Dear all,

As the sun has been shining more over the last week, we have been enjoying getting out into the garden and trying to tidy it up ready for the summer. My predecessor, Paul Tudge, was an incredible gardener and made the garden we now have into the most wonderful place! However, in the time between him leaving and us moving in, things have got a bit overgrown. Some weeds, some trees getting too big etc. This week we had a gardener come and tame a couple of the trees and bushes, pruning them ready for new growth in the spring/summer. This reminds me of the verse from John’s gospel,

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”  John 15:2.

This is a great image for Lent, a period of pruning and cutting back in order to allow for new growth. This week, on the Lent Course, the Archbishop of Canterbury described it as scraping the barnacles off.  Whenever you prune in your garden, it can look brutal and there is always a point when you look at it and think “Oh no! What have we done?”, but I also know, having seen it before, that the new growth will come and, before I know it, it will look alive and thriving.

What, in this period of Lent, do we need pruning? What are the barnacles that might need removing from our lives?

The exciting thing is, as this pruning happens, it leaves space for the new growth, more fruit. I wonder what new things God has prepared for you. This is also an exciting question to ask about our church collectively, as we cautiously and gently start to come out of this lockdown, after what seems like such a long time. We need to ask ourselves, what has God been pruning through this time and what new things is God leading us towards?

Bishop Nick has asked us, as churches, to consider these four questions;

  1. What have we lost that we need to regain?
  2. What have we lost that needs to stay lost?
  3. What have we gained we need to keep and build upon?
  4. What have we gained during the emergency that we now need to lose going forward?

As we continue this Lenten journey and God continue to prune us, let us also reflect together on what pruning God is doing in our church and what new things God has in store for us personally and collectively.

God bless.


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