WELCOME TO THE PARISH OF SKETTY
LAST WORDS FROM LLANGASTY
Sunday 4th. October 2020.
Early morning at Llangasty Retreat House on my Ordination Retreat, I wandered into the lounge and looked out of the window at the wonderful scenery. It was raining and above us were dark clouds letting me know there was more to come.
But across the lake there are hills and above them was a break in the clouds and it was filled with bright light reminding me that although we can’t see it, the sun is still there.
I think about our lives and the dark clouds of the problems facing us today with the thought of more that will rain down on us. But I am reminded that one day we will cross that lake when Jesus tells us not to be afraid, and to come to Him. Then we will step out of the boat of this life and walk with Him to the other side where new life awaits us.
There His light beckons us, the clouds of our old lives disappear and we carry on walking up those hills until we reach the top and looking over the other side we rejoice at the vision of the beauty of eternity that awaits us.
AUTUMN THOUGHTS 2
The American’s call the Autumn, ‘the Fall’. I like that. For one reason it helps me to remember that our clocks spring forward in the Spring and fall back in the Autumn! However, when we think of the leaves changing colour and dying and falling from the trees, it is a very appropriate title for the Autumn.
We know that although the trees are left bare the leaves will grow again in the spring and for now the trees only sleep to go through the cold days of winter.
Autumn can be a time for us to consider the things we no longer need and how to shed them? Maybe we are hoarders surrounded by those things we never use and just clutter up the place? As falling leaves, as they break down, add nourishment to the soil, have we something that will be useful to others who can use them to add quality to their lives? Certainly, charity shops would welcome our help.
Autumn can be a time to take stock of where we are in our Christian lives. Perhaps we holding on to things that were so important to our faith and worship but now need to be replaced with something new? Is there need for change so that the church will become more attractive next year?
Are we holding on to old feelings of resentment and anger over situations that have now been resolved but we can’t seem to let them go and they affect our relationships and attitudes today if something triggers off old memories.?
Has what had been a new vibrant and healthy faith faded because we have discarded some of those things that are important for us to be fed spiritually? Is our faith now coloured by our own personality flaws?
Within us are all sorts of things, bad and good that if used properly can nourish new growth in our spirituality. We need to take all that has happened to us and add it to a sort of large spiritual compost heap. Then as we break it all down we can use what was useful in the past to give new nourishment to these flaws and take time to refresh our basic faith so that we can face the cold hard times when they arrive.
It is important to rest in the Lord and take time to just to be with Him. We are all branches on Jesus the true vine and whatever our outward appearance, He continues to provide the real nourishment that will give us eternal life, He will never cast us off. He uses us whatever our condition or appearance.
Take time over the winter months to let go of ourselves and offer everything we are to Jesus, He will transform us to new life.
LAST WORDS OCTOBER 2020
AUTUMN THOUGHTS FOR OCTOBER
ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS
Autumn marks the ending of one year and preparation for the next.
In nature animals prepare themselves to cope with the coming winter. They store up food ad grow thicker coats to keep out the season’s cold. Plants die back but not without having shed seeds that will ensure new growth in the spring. Deciduous Trees shed their leaves and seem to be preparing to rest through hard cold months ahead. They too will have cast off seeds from which new trees will grow.
Days get shorter and nights get longer, and the chill of winter fills the air.
How do we as Christians prepare for the months ahead and the new year
that will follow.The past year has been different from anything we are used to.
Now is the time to look back over our year, to learn lessons from both
successes and failures and to prepare ourselves for the cold chills of the
pandemic and other problems that will affect us through the months ahead.
How do we do this spiritually and in our church lives?
We need to wrap our selves up in God’s love and fine ways to feed our faith.
Have we anything we need to shed that is no longer useful? Perhaps we have shown great and attractive ways to witness that faith is alive and has a lot to give. But, like falling leaves have we issues that we need to drop so that we can give ourselves and our churches time to rest and recover and perhaps grow new leaves of our faith and worship in the year ahead.
Have we, like plants and trees done anything to ensure future growth of our faith and that it will continue after the pandemic winter has passed?
Is there something we can do to prepare with extra nourishment from prayer, Bible Study, worship and discussion in order to strengthen our faith and commitment so that we will emerge from it all new and healthy and ready to witness perhaps in new and different ways?
Within us all are the seeds of faith that we need to hand on to others to make sure the church continues. The central part of our seeds is Jesus and all He said and taught, and nothing can or should alter that. However, our new growth may be altered in different ways so that new varieties or ways of expression can emerge which are more inviting for those living through these troubled times in 2021?
We need to begin with ourselves by putting ourselves in the hands of God, the Master gardener Who will send us the Holy Spirit to help, guide and strengthen us cay by day. Perhaps the winter-
LAST WORDS FOR SUNDAY 4TH OCTOBER 2020
WRITTEN DURING MY ORDINATION RETREAT IN LLANGASTY SEPTEMBER 2020.
CALLED TO SERVE!
Well Friends, I’ve done it! It has taken me fifty years to get here, but I am now ordained as a priest.
I have been on a journey that has taken me through rejection and despair and has caused me to change direction several times, and all I now see as God’s purpose for me. All I have done has been a learning situation, through which our Lord, has dragged me, screaming, and shouting as it has not been what I wanted! No matter what I have done or how others have treated me, always He has guided me back to the path He has chosen for me.
I’ve had my vocation to serve from my teens, but the fulfilment had to come in God’s time, not mine and He had to prepare me for it. As we know, some take longer than others to learn.
But in all I did, I served God. It shouldn’t have mattered if I was ordained or not, and God has a vocation for us all and each one begins by serving Him where we are now. It also means serving one another, rejoicing with those who succeed while being along-
My lay service was no less value than any ordained ministry. It doesn’t matter what others are doing. What matters is our own individual relationship with God. We are all part of a royal priesthood, God’s chosen people, all called and all working together. The learning we have had to do has been to build up the Body of Christ, His church.
All I have become along the way has deepened my commitment to our Lord and through it all I have grown closer to Him and more certain of what I have been called to be.
My priesting is simply a seal on all I have been doing up until now and only possible because of the journey I have undertaken and the learning I have had to do to serve in obedience to His will and not my own and what I wanted.
If God has called us, we will get there but only when He has made us ready. We must trust Him no matter what others say or when they try to say we are wrong. That can be an extremely difficult thing to do when we feel we have no support.
Now I can truly say to ‘our Father’, “Thank You for loving me and for all those who
have helped me along the way as they travelled on their own journeys and during
the times our paths crossed.”
Thank you to those who read this and are amongst them.
Photographs by Canon Peter Brooks