Rector's Letter

And the People said, "Amen!"

Just over three years ago, the PCC appointed a working group to propose what we should do about our ageing and deteriorating sound system and our wholly inadequate projection system in St James’. Their proposals, presented at the beginning of June, were bold and visionary, and they caught the imagination of the PCC. They were calling us to look beyond the immediate needs that we’re all aware of, and to be thinking about equipping the church for the coming generations. We were struck by the excitement of the younger PCC members about how positively their children would relate to what was being proposed. That was a stimulus to the rest of us to recognise how rapidly the world is changing, and a challenge to us to imagine how we must adapt our methods to communicate the good news of Jesus in the years to come. Jane Palmer and I had just returned from the diocesan clergy conference in which the Bishop had been urging a very similar message upon us all.

So the PCC and I now find ourselves unanimously, gladly, and wholeheartedly commending to the congregation a major and costly (£80,000) project which we can afford only if all of us are willing to back it financially with our gifts. Will we do so? The PCC and I believe that God is behind this great enterprise. Are we right?

Well, in 1 Chronicles 16 we read about king David bringing the ark of God into Jerusalem. This was a huge and risky undertaking, a great moment in the life of the nation. The king had taken care to ensure that his actions would be right in God’s eyes, and he led the people accordingly. At the completion of the undertaking he raised his voice in praise to God, and “all the people said ‘Amen’ and ‘Praise the Lord.’” (v36)

And there we have it: the dual role of the leader, the dual role of the PCC. It lies in two directions: to discern humbly whether we are rightly aligned with God’s intentions, and to listen carefully to understand the minds of the people too. Are we right in discerning the hand of the Lord in this? Are the people also catching the same vision? If so, the project will be a wonderful success and a blessing to many in generations to come. Will you pray for the PCC, and for the project? Will you help generously to finance it? At its completion will your own voice be part of the people’s great shout of “Amen”? However great or small our contribution, my prayer is that not one of us will be left out.

Rob Thomas

© 2017 Trowbridge St James'