Frensham Village Churches

Letter from the Vicarage - August 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Last month I wrote about what we are

trying to do at Church to remove barriers and help people come to church

to explore more about God’s love for everyone. But barriers can be on

both sides and sometimes there appears to be a no-go-area - ‘no-man’s

land’ - in between!

Whilst it is definitely not the right time in August to remind people of that

Christmas (is this the earliest Christmas has ever been mentioned in a

parish Magazine?!) football match in no-man’s land during WW1; like the

soldiers of that time who, when they removed the barriers and got

together, enabled something wonderfully surprising, huge fun and an

almost magical/divine deep peace to happen; I do remind you now

because I believe the same can happen now when barriers come down.

Ultimately, my hope is that when there can be free movement for each

and everyone so that we just flow through everywhere including the

church buildings, and we won’t say ‘Church people’ and ‘village people’

because there will be no trace of ‘them and us’, no labelling, and no

thought of ‘border crossing’...

In truth, boundaries and borders are being crossed all the time in our

villages, as many church members are volunteers for the shop, the Royal

British Legion, Frensham Fayre, the Scarecrow and Christmas tree

festivals, and various fundraisers and events. There is also cross-border

membership of the Cricket, tennis and bowls club; there are people from

both villages and churches in the ‘Hort and Prod’ group, the history group,

the Pilates and other fitness groups…


So it is sort of happening… but could it be better? And, in the interests of

future village coherence, and of growing here in body, mind and spirit,

especially with so many new-comers coming in, might we discover the

barriers are only the historical ones we either keep or put there? As there

are no barriers at all in the awesome, infinite and eternal love of God, and

we are all in the same boat of trying to live our lives in a balanced,

connected and wholesome way; can we all let down our barriers and, like

those footballer soldiers, discover something wonderfully surprising, huge

fun and even a deep peace in enjoying life together? After all, there are

times when it does seem too short…

There are still an awful lot of hang-ups, prejudices and judgements that

keep many people’s barriers up and the main culprit keeping them there

is fear. Fear of being hurt, fear of being embarrassed or let down, fear of

being belittled or not valued, and many more fears… We seem to live in a

world of fear… (and to be honest Donald Trump and other world leaders

are not helping…) Fear can hold us back by giving us a skewed perception

that is not the actual truth of a present situation.

For centuries, the basic theology promoted in the Church has been that of

a wrathful almighty God, and the Biblical preaching was ‘fire and

brimstone’ and this kept most people fearful of God, of the church and its

priests. Ironically the church itself has been in fear for most of its history –

mainly the fear of losing control. Over centuries it has put up barriers to

protect itself. This is not surprising – after all the church has always mainly

been made up of scared people… people scared of change and

development - and often scared people can make really good bullies… The

main problem in history was that when Christianity got to Rome, instead

of the Good News ‘Christianising’ Rome, Christianity itself was

‘Romanised’ and became a hierarchical, controlling management

structure instead of a Spiritual, healing, teaching, loving, sacred safe space

for nurture and development and evolution of being…


I hope and pray that the historical situation is not mainly the truth now,

although I am a realist and am very aware of where change is needed.

However, I do believe that there is movement more towards the more

Spiritual, healing, loving, connected nature of God in people of faith

whether church goers or not (hence at the churches of our Benefice we

welcome everyone - those of all faiths and none.) I am deeply saddened

and so sorry for all the hurts and mistakes that have been made by people

in the Church previously, including myself – I am not infallible and often

make mistakes – for which I am truly sorry. Learning through experiences

over time has spurred me to lead and develop an open church for the

Benefice of Frensham within the Church of England which is safe, loving,

hardworking, transparent and honest – and totally integrated with the

community it serves. After all, we are all in the same boat of Life, aren’t

we?

Just a small postscript – when the soldiers stopped playing football, they

went back to shooting and killing each other. Regression can happen all

too quickly – God is (and I am) for progression - who’s with God?

The Good News is – “ALL OF US!” because we are all God’s children!

With all love and prayers,

Jane


Parish Register

8th July 2018: Baptism of Freya Nancy Ida Castle

14th July 2018: Marriage of Arron Phillips and Emma Walker

21st July 2018: Marriage blessing of Martin and Madeline Kloiber

26th July 2018: Funeral of Natasha Bingham

28th July 2018: Marriage of Daniel Hill and Olivia Ramage