Welcome to Lawrence's Page

Dear Friends,

Naturally as I begin my ministry with you my thoughts turn to beginnings. Whenever you start something new the tendency is to make plans, consider all the new things you can do and look to how you can make an impact. Then, as I have been travelling around the churches in the team this week I have been struck by the lists of rectors and incumbents displayed on many of the church walls, often going back many centuries. I cannot help but wonder what plans those rectors had when they started?

I wonder what state the churches were in? Were the congregations growing or in decline? Were the buildings in need of repair? Was the national church in crisis? And the truth is that at all points in its history the church has been in some sort of crisis and at all points people have worried about its future. The other thing I notice about those boards of rectors is the sheer number of those listed, each in post for varying lengths of time, some just a few short years, others many decades, but however long or short each tenure, they are all just a blink in time compared to the time the church has been there and the time Christ has been worshipped in this world.

This then takes me to another beginning, the glorious start of John’s gospel, ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ (John 1.1). Here we are told thatJesus has been in existence from before the start of time itself and so His church has been in existence from the very start of creation, an unimaginably long time ago. When placed against that timeline then our time here is so short. God’s plan stretches from far, far before our birth and will go on long after our physical bodies are dust. We are tasked with doing God’s will in our lives in those years granted to us and to give thanks to God for all that we have been given. Whilst we are here we should do all we can to bring in God’s kingdom, to be true disciples of Jesus and to try to become more like him each day. If we do this, living faithfully, then Christ’s church will continue to thrive in this world. We may worry about the church roof, the numbers attending on a Sunday or the other myriad problems that appear so daunting but as Jesus himself tells us, ‘do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself,’ (Matthew 6.34).

One day I will also probably be just a name on a board on the wall of a church as some future priest contemplates their ministry here. And like all of those who have gone before and the many thousands who have worshipped in our churches our true worth will not be based on our earthly achievements but on the grace we receive from God and the love of Christ. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, ‘I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8.38-39)

Revd Lawrence Gittins.
Priest in Charge.