Vicar's Letter

Adapted from the "Vicar's letter" published in the October 2016 Parish Magazine.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

It is Harvest time again. As I am writing these lines to you it still feels a lot more like summer than autumn, but the first leaves that are coming down are a reminder of the season we are heading into.

Some people, so I am told, dread this moment when the last warm rays of a late summer are beginning to fade. But, rather than seeing falling leaves and the first chilly nights as messengers of a grey, gloomy and long winter, I look forward to the beautiful colours of late autumn and the celebration of Harvest - although it has rather a different feel to it in a society in which not many of us actually work the ground or are dependent on a good crop to see us through the winter.

So perhaps you might like to look at Harvest in a broader way by giving thanks to God for the many different ways in which you have been blessed this last year, such as a relationship that might have sustained and carried you through a difficult time this last year, or an old grudge which you were able to put aside, a new discovery you made, a new person you met or simply the fact that you had enough food and other essentials to sustain you and your family this last year.

Of course, Harvest is also a time which reminds us to be generous to those who struggle with life or have fallen on hard times. It is a time when we as a parish support The Besom in Camberley and remind oneanother how important it is to belong to a generous community in which people care and look out for one-another in many different ways.

For us, as people of faith, this generosity is a tangible expression of our faith without which it would be hollow and insincere. So I am hoping that you will find opportunities this month to express your generosity and that you will find comfort and peace when you in turn receive from generous people.

Let's close with a little joke about a couple that still had some way to go with their generosity:

Once upon a time there lived a man who loved and treasured his money and saved as much of it as he possibly could. Every time he got paid he took £20 out of his pay packet and put it under his mattress. He grew to be very old and when he came to the end of his life and was about to die he said to his wife and son "I want you to promise me one thing."

"Promise what?" they asked. "I want you to promise me that when I'm dead you'll take my money from under the mattress and put it in my coffin so that I can take it all with me. For that reason, I have made special arrangements for an oversized coffin."

A few days later he died and when his wife and son came to see his body one last time at the funeral home the wife slipped an envelope in his coffin. On leaving the funeral home her son, wondering what happened to all his father's money, asked his mother what had been in the envelope. She said: "I thought about your father's last wish, but instead of putting all the bank notes into the coffin I decided to write him a cheque."

I hope you'll have a blessed and peaceful autumn.

God bless,
Andreas.


Adapted from the "Vicar's letter" published in the July 2016 Parish Magazine.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

A teenage boy had just passed his driving test and inquired of his father as to when they could discuss his use of the car. His father said he'd make a deal with his son: 'You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible a little more, and get your hair cut. Then we'll talk about the car.'

The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he'd settle for the offer, and they agreed on it.

After about six weeks his father said, 'Son, you've brought your grades up and I've observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I'm disappointed you haven't had your hair cut.

The boy said, 'You know, Dad, I've been thinking about that, and I've noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair...and there's even strong evidence that Jesus had long hair.' The Dad looked at him for a moment and then replied - 'Did you also notice they all walked everywhere they went?'

On a more serious note - our children's car journeys are not the only journeys we worry about. There are many other journeys you and I, and all of us together are on, that are potentially difficult or dangerous and lead into an unknown and perhaps scary future.

As I am writing these lines it has almost become impossible to escape the debate of where our national journey with regards to the EU will take us. Of course, as you read these lines now, the referendum has taken place and we all know into which direction (in or out) the journey will take us in the coming years. This will make some of us really happy and some quite unhappy, I suspect.

So I thought it would be appropriate to remind us all of the fact that, no matter where we stood on the “Brexit” debate and how the result now makes us feel, as Christians we have a unique calling to bring the love and light of Christ into whatever situation we find ourselves in – be it inside or outside the EU.

Let me remind you of some familiar words written by Sir Cecil Spring Rice, in which he reflects on this:

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above, Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love: the love that asks no questions, the love that stands the test, That lays upon the altar, the dearest and the best; the love that never falters, the love that pays the price, the love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there's another country, I've heard of long ago Most dear to them that loves her, most great to them that know; We may not count her armies, we may not see her King: Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering: And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase, And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.

I particularly enjoy the last line in verse 2, which is taken from the Old Testament book of Proverbs (Proverbs 3:17) and imagine that there could hardly be a better resolution for our journey into the future.

I hope and pray that you will indeed have a summer which sees you walk on ways of gentleness and paths of peace.

God bless,
Andreas.

 

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What it means to be a Christian.

Christian life is lived in relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and in common with other Christians in the church seeking to deepen that relationship and to follow the way that Jesus taught.

For Christians God is understood and known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

…Father… God is love, caring for creation and for every human being as God's beloved child.

…Son… God is as he has revealed himself to be in the historical person of Jesus Christ. Jesus' life, death and resurrection holds the key to knowing and loving God, and to making sense of life, before and after death.

…and Holy Spirit… God is alive, loving and active today, inspiring faith, justice and truth, sustaining the life of the world, giving spiritual gifts to the church and bearing his spiritual fruit in the world - changed lives and a transformed society.

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Vicar: Rev Andreas Sistig

 

 

Parish Magazine

We produce a Parish Magazine each month. Copies are available in church, in several outlets in the village, and by post.

It is not appropriate to put the complete magazine online, but here we normally reproduce one or more 'Vicar's Letters' from past editions.