This is my last letter as Team Rector for, as you probably know, I am retiring on 14th February.
Over the last four years or so it has been a privilege to be with you and contribute to the life of our Team Ministry. Each of our churches—St Margaret’s, Stratton, St Mary Magdalene, South Marston, St Leonard, Stanton Fitzwarren and our congregation which meets at Coleview Community Centre each Sunday, have their own identities in the communities where they are. One size doesn’t fit all and it has been good to have been part of different approaches and alternative ways of local church life.
However, what we seek to do is never finished, or even tidy – the ministry of God is never ending. That applies too to our own journey of faith whether we are just tentatively beginning or have been on that journey for many years. But what differentiates both our church life and our individual faith is that we give testimony to the language of hope. This is different from false optimism or despair. We do not have any way of predicting the outcome of our life’s journeys, or know sure what lies ahead. But what we can know as Christians is that by our faith we can put our lives and our future, with confidence, into God’s hands.
Our Christian faith in God and his promises necessarily retains the character of a venture, of a risk undertaken in obedience to a command: not a leap into the dark, but a pilgrimage of faith.
It is my prayer as I leave that you will all know that hope of God in your lives, not just for today but for all your tomorrows too.
God bless you and thank you for your support and encouragement in so many ways to both Beryl and myself.
Rev Victor Howlett