THE MAGAZINE TEAM
Our A4 magazine goes free into 1100 homes around the parish.
Revd Barbara Steadman-Allen, General Editor
Maggie Myatt, proof reader extraordinaire
Sara Pearson and Kevin Abel, professional Design and Layout
Kathy Wheeler, chases the adverts
My thanks to the friends who put up with the
addition of two extra terrier voices to the caninechorus just by 10-12 Warwick Road, SH,
sometimes very late on a final stroll at bedtime.
You’ve been great neighbours, making
the three of us welcome and even
inviting us to the Christmas bash. You
may have noticed it go a bit quiet this
week. That’s because we three
returned “home” to the Vicarage on
Tuesday 16th Jan.
Not that Pear Tree Cottage hasn't been
"home". It has. It's been a very
comfortable five months and I still find
myself turning in the direction of the
drawers and cupboards in the kitchen
that held my stuff even though things
are stored differently here. How
quickly we build new routines.
I hope that my return hasn’t put me out
of range of the village, like a lost
mobile signal. I truly am the identical
person sitting in front of the computer
up the drive that I was sitting in front
of the same computer down the alley.
I suppose I can see much more clearly,
though, how the church – and me –
must seem like a different world.
When I was “down there” everything
"up here" appeared strangely far away,
maybe even irrelevant.
Is it a gap in perception of what the
church is like and its reality? Or might
it be that the church seems to have no
connection with real life and certainly
not the life of the parish? What can we
do to bridge the gap? The question is
just as relevant to Mid Holmwood and
Beare Green, except that in Beare
Green we have "moved in" to the
Village Hall and tried to create a local
prayer space for residents.
As the 28th move in my short-ish life
(now I can claim 27 addresses),“home” is an interesting concept.Even within a month of my first breath of North London air, I had moved(perhaps, more accurately, had been moved) to another address. My mum wheeled me through Northolt Park in the pram and I seem to have been on the move ever since.I suspect “home” for me is the chair I am occupying in any one moment of time. For the boys, their security comes from a familiar dog bed and a chew. A simple (enviable?) existence.
Since the last edition of The Magazine and some months before Christmas,
several of our friends in the church,weekly worshippers when they were
able, were “called home”. We all miss Claire and Liz and Mary and Kathy
and Retta and Ruby, all of whom were landmarks on the “map” of our lives.But they have all been “called home”. And original villagers will feel the same about Bill.
On the whole, Christians don’t say “passing” or “passing away” – it’s a bit
vague. The whole picture of “home” -somewhere permanent, somewhere
safe, somewhere welcoming - feels more specific and powerful somehow.
It was a phrase I found myself using when my Dad died. I was on the M26,
driving to their home in Kent in response to the news that he had collapsed and, needing to know, I phoned Rosemary, my sister. "Has he recovered, or has he been called home?" I asked. The brief moment of
silence that followed told me the answer. But there it was, then, said out
loud, "Called 'home'." Despite the shock, it was comforting. Purposeful.
Both Jesus and Paul saw the possibility of having another door key: one for
‘here’, the world in which we live. It's beautiful but risky and uncertain and sometimes downright dangerous. The other is for ‘there’, where God lives,
Father, Son and Spirit together, with an open door, a ‘safe lodging and peace at the last’ as Cardinal John Newman put it.
So it's not just a phrase describing death. I like to think becoming a
friend of God while we are living is an act of "coming home", and that the
church is in turn a spiritual "home". "Home is where the heart is."
The story of the son who ran away with his inheritance even before his
dad had died comes to mind. He returned home partly because the funds
had run out paying for all the parties he'd enjoyed and - he had seen himself as he really was. Lost in every sense. When he turned in the direction of home, even when he was some way off, his dad, who had looked for his son every day, ran to meet him. At last! He had come home. Jesus told this story as a glimpse into the father heart of God in the hope that the people who heard it might respond in the same way.
Now I have to ask another question - partly because it’s my job and partly
because I'm a challenging sort of individual with a particular heart beat –
do you have a second front door key on your key ring?
You can recognise it easily. It’s cross-shaped.
Love from your very own