The first Sunday in May will see our Confirmation Service. This is when people make a public commitment to follow Christ, and receive a special prayer from our Bishop. I am thrilled that this year there will be 10 people standing up to do this. It is encouraging and fascinating to hear about each person’s journey of faith. For some this year, a key factor has been through being a parent and thinking about what is best for their children. As they have thought about asking for God’s blessing and having their child baptised, it has encouraged them to think about their own faith. As they have come to explore what they believe and experience worship, they have discovered the living God, who can enrich our every day lives.
It has been interesting to follow some of the debate about whether we are a Christian country or not. What has emerged is a clear picture that our society is based on Christian values and laws. While it is true that only a small proportion of our society go to church regularly, a very high proportion identify themselves as Christian. This is particularly true of the village of Stanley. It is of course important to emphasise the value of tolerance of other points of view without losing confidence in our own faith.
I believe that there are many people who are being nudged into thinking about what they believe about God and wondering about coming to church. Let me encourage you to stop putting it off and come along. We are not perfect but are friendly and would love to meet you.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the first World War. While we do not celebrate war, we do remember those who have given their lives fighting for our nation. The day I am writing this letter, is the day we have been planting poppy seeds in three places in the village; near the Church Centre, at St Peter’s school and at Stanley Grove School. This has been happening throughout the diocese. We said prayers that the poppies would help us remember people who had lost their lives. We will watch as the plants grow and witness the amazing transformation of a tiny seed into a beautiful flower.