Reverend Robert S Thewsey MA

Reflections from the Rectory

Dear friends
This month will see the priesting of our curate, Sarah, at Dorchester Abbey, (10.30am, 23rd June) – and you are all welcome to come and support Sarah and the other curates being priested that day. It would be absolutely amazing if the Abbey were full to capacity.
Sarah’s priesting should remind us all about change and trying something new and different. Sarah will be continuing her training here for the next few years, but she will now be able to preside at the Eucharist as well as being able to take Weddings and anointing the sick. All this will be new and different for Sarah.
Trying something different is not an easy option, and change is something that many of us struggle to deal with, but if we look to Jesus and ask for his help and seek his guidance, then I know that help and support will be forthcoming.
Our community is living in a world of change, and we all need the support of one another to be able to be the best person that we can be, to become the person that God created us to be. The support, and love, of those around us is, I think, vital for our own wellbeing, and the growth of us as a unique individual.
But God did not put us on this world to live apart, he created us as a social being, a being that needs the love and support of those around us to grow and to flourish. Community is therefore vital for the wellbeing of our society – you will all probably be fed up with hearing about the Government’s many initiatives over the years on ‘The Big Society’ but we here in this part of Oxfordshire already have the Big Society. This is evident from the caring attitudes of our neighbours, the sharing of resources with those in need.
However, many older people tell me that Shiplake, Dunsden and Harpsden are not like they used to be!
By that they mean (or I think that they mean) that there does not seem to be the same caring attitude in our villages and streets, but having come from Manchester I can certainly stand up and say that there is a real caring community here, and it is a community that can, and should continue to grow. But in order for this caring community to survive it does need us all to take our fair part, not to leave task to others, to constantly hold out our hands to those around us who need our support. And if we continue to care for those around us then this world will become an even more fantastic place to live.
This is also true of Church life – we all need to be involved in running our lovely churches and not just leave this task to others.
Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love your neighbour as yourself. If we all took this one commandment then instantly the world would be a better place to live. There would be no more violence, war or hunger. Instead we would have a society that loved one another as God loves us.
So after waffling on for a time, I think that what I am trying to say to you/me/us is that our challenge in life should simply be ‘Love one another.’ For where Love is there is God also.
Yours in Christ