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Town Centre Churches

The Rector writes …

Dear Friends,

The recent pandemic has been a time of massive and unexpected change.  We are adjusting slowly, but the changes are still happening, and on a large scale – violence in Ukraine persists in devastating ways, with millions of displaced refugees in need of welcome – changes in UK government – changes in cost of living, and so on.

After living through such disorientation, it may be tedious to see that the Church is not exempt from change. Everyone needs safe places at times and the Church has often been portrayed through history as being a place that resists change.  It is not surprising if the beleaguered or stressed disciples see the Church as a refuge in which we can relish in the eternal changelessness of God.

There are many Biblical passages, however, which can lead us to see that change is part of the nature of God.  God’s dealings with Abraham and Moses, for example, suggest that there is quite a bit of movement in God’s view of things.  Indeed, the whole of the Biblical record helps us see God working in history in a constantly changing world.  The God whom I encounter in the Bible is a dynamic innovative and personal power.

The need to be prepared for the inevitability of change is referred to in his book, ‘Holy Living’, by the Chaplain to King Charles 1, Jeremy Taylor.  He writes:

Let us prepare our mind against changes, always expecting them that we may not be surprised when they come:  for nothing is so great an enemy to tranquillity and a contented spirit, as the amazement and confusions of unreadiness and inconsideration:  and when our fortunes are violently changed, our spirits are unchanged, if they always stood in the suburbs and expectations of sorrows.

Here is a call to everyone to expect change and not to fear the worst when change comes. Taylor knew about change. During the previous hundred years, the Reformation had changed the orientation of the Church in England away from Rome. The Authorised Version of the Bible had recently been produced, in a style of English that was to be much admired over the next 400 years. Church services were no longer in Latin. Clergy were able to marry and the Monarch had become the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The changes brought by the Reformation had brought fresh life to the Church in England.  Jeremy Taylor was living in exciting and dangerous times – and they were all the more challenging for his boss the Supreme Governor!

And so it has always been, and will be.

The approach to change within the Church and how we deal with change in the world around us have to be rooted in our understanding of God.  As we reflect on the Bible and our experience of daily life, we see that change is built into the whole system and into the very nature of God.  God isn’t partially incarnate – being involved in a love-affair with humanity is ‘all-or-nothing’ involvement.  Further, since we believe that God is intimately involved in the evolution of our world, we can be confident that change can be good and part of God’s creative purpose.  Thus, the more we can understand and learn to ‘go with the flow’ of the complexity that is our changing world, the more we will be open to being agents for God’s purposes.

As Reinhold Niebuhr wrote:

God, give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed;

Give us the courage to change what should be changed;

Give us the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.

This Sunday,  7th August: Trinity 8.

8am St Peter’s: Communion

10am St Peter’s: Communion:  I shall preside and Scott Canadas, an ordinand on placement with us, from the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, will preach.

10am St Augustin’s: Communion: The Rev’d Steve Parselle.

10.45am St Stephen’s: Communion: The Rev’d Canon John Turpin.

4pm St Peter’s: Evening Prayer with hymns.

Next Sunday, 14th August: Trinity 9.

8am St Peter’s: Communion

10am St Peter’s: The Rev’d Bryan Apps.

10am St Augustin’s: Communion: The Rev’d Dr Chris Steed.

10.45am St Stephen’s: Communion: The Rev’d John Staples.

No Sunday Evening Prayer for the rest of August.

Sunday, 21st August: Trinity 10.

8am St Peter’s: Communion

10am St Peter’s: The Rev’d Dr Chris Steed.

10am St Augustin’s: Communion: The Rev’d Dr David Wheeler.

10.45am St Stephen’s: Communion: The Rev’d Canon John Turpin..

No Evening Prayer.

Sunday, 28th August: Trinity 11.

8am St Peter’s: Communion

10am St Peter’s: The Rev’d Steve Parselle.

10am St Augustin’s: Communion: Canon John Turpin.

10.45am St Stephen’s: Communion: The Rev’d Stephen Holmes.

No Evening Prayer.

Sunday, 4th September: Air Festival Sunday: Trinity 12.

8am St Peter’s: Communion

10am Air Festival Praise in the Lower Gardens, with hymns led by Boscombe Salvation Army Band & preacher: The Rev’d (Flt Lt) Helene Grant, Chaplain RAF Cranwell. (No 10am service at St Peter’s – please, bring chairs and drinks to near to the Bandstand.)

10am St Augustin’s: Communion: The Rev’d Steve Parselle.

10.45am St Stephen’s: Communion: The Rev’d David Lund.

4 pm Evensong.

This will be the only email from me during August, whilst Lucinda and I take annual leave, 8th – 31st August.  We would ask you to respect, please, that we shall both, properly, be ‘off radar’ for communications whilst on leave, and will not respond to communications until 1st September. If there are pastoral emergencies, please, contact the Rev’d Steve Parselle: parselle@aol.com

God bless you richly this August,

Ian

The Rev’d Dr Ian A. Terry

DTh, PhD, MA, FRSA

Visiting Research Fellow: Winchester University

Team Rector:  Bournemouth Town Centre

Chair: Local Governing Body: Bournemouth Collegiate School

07733336047 (text) 01202 554058

18 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, BH2 6NT

Registered Charity Number: 1186400

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