Alrewas All Saints PCC

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From the Vicar - August 2018

01/08/2018

‘Sabbath-time’……NOT an ‘Optional Extra’!

Dear Friends,

As I write this, just after the schools completed their academic year and the outstanding Alrewas Show is also over for another year, a great many of you are either presently on – or just preparing to go on your summer holiday……and rightly so!

 

 In Genesis (the first book in the Bible), God works ‘flat out’ over six days (in God’s timing, not ours!) to create everything that exists, and in Genesis 2 it says: So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day, having finished his task, God rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from his work of creation.

 God’s command that we should observe ‘sabbath time’ and take it seriously should not be an ‘optional extra’ for anyone, for we all need regular and adequate time to refuel and refresh, rest and rejuvenate. This is wonderfully captured in the delightful children’s book Jesus' day off, in which Jesus is so busy doing miracles and healings and meeting people’s needs that he wakes up one day totally exhausted, and is told to take a day off…..he has a fun and liberating day of cartwheeling, donkey-riding through the desert, a superb and relaxing picnic – but at the end of the day he suddenly feels very sad, because he feels guilty that hasn’t helped anyone! But God shows him how, by doing a variety of things he enjoyed himself, he had unwittingly also brought a huge blessing to many other people’s day, and he was able to return to his ministry truly refreshed, re-fuelled, and ready to serve effectively once more. Nicholas Allan’s book is an excellent one for children as well as adults alike to read regularly, as a poignant reminder of our need for quality ‘sabbath-time’ 

The word ‘sabbatical’ derives from ‘sabbath’, and refers to a planned break from one’s regular work in order to find refreshment and renewal, through greater space and time, to experience different opportunities. Having served continuously for 27 years as a parish priest in the Church of England, I’m delighted to have the privilege of my first ‘Extended Study Leave’ (aka, sabbatical!) this year from 20th August to 10th November, during which time I will be looking into how we can more effectively train prospective clergy and lay leaders for authorised ministry in their local parish contexts, and also having much appreciated quality time to visit with family members in my native USA. This opportunity simply would not be possible without the wonderful support not only of committed lay leaders in all three churches, but especially that of my ordained colleagues, Chris Precious (01827-383933) and Elizabeth Wall (01543-254891), who between them will be organising and running the church services and dealing with ministry requests during my extended leave…..as I invite you to be in touch with them for any matters connected with the ministry of All Saints Alrewas, St. Stephen’s Fradley, and St. Leonard’s Wychnor during the above time-frame, I offer them my deepest appreciation and gratitude for this very special opportunity, and I look forward to returning to my parish duties in November with fresh insights and renewed energy!

With heart-felt wishes for true refreshment and renewal for everyone this summer,  Vicar John

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