Top Banner

Welcome To Sian's Message Page

Dear Friends,

Fifty-five years ago in 1964 Bob Dylan released a song called 'The times they are a changing'; it was hailed as an anthem for much-needed change in society and culture. I'm sure many of you, like me, remember the song and the sixties - the decade of enormous change.

The church in the 1960s seemed to be still going strong, but changes in society during that time such as, exploration into other world faiths (remember The Beatles and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi?), the reduction in men coming forward for ordination training, the recognition of the role of women in society and in relationships, the decriminalisation of homosexual acts, the advent of television into most homes, the introduction of sport on Sundays for children, all these led to the development of a completely different society with a much broader vision and understanding of life. People became far, far less willing to accept authority or being told what to do and what to believe, indeed authority was challenged and there was a willingness to gather together to fight for rights and beliefs. This may have been destabilising at the time but the 'Universal Love' creed of 1960s hippies played its part in establishing a greater more inclusive attitude towards all humanity and one of the greatest outcomes of this was the eventual success of the Civil Rights Movement in America. By the 1970's church attendance had plummeted and this country was no longer referred to as a 'Christian country' but was and is now known as a 'Civilised society'

You will all remember some of this I'm sure but, its nearly always only in retrospect that we recognise seismic shifts in the way we live life and this is why the Christian Church failed to wake up to what was happening at the time. Indeed it’s only very recently that we have realised that we now have at least two generations of people for whom church has no meaning or value whatsoever, largely because they have no meaningful experience of it.

What does all this mean for us now? Well it means that we would do well to recognise that times are still changing, that traditional church as we know it continues to have less and less value to people BUT this is not true of spirituality, it's not true of some of our faith practices such as prayer and our beliefs such as eternal life and it is most definitely not true of God.

The knowledge and experience of the love of God for ALL people is something that is as vital and valuable as it has ever been if not more than ever. Sometimes we can see glimpses of individual need for meaning and purpose, for self -worth, self-esteem and for assurance that death is not the end. Whilst we remain on the roller-coaster of life and of church-life in particular, it helps to remember that what we stand for, our Christian faith, has never and will never lose its value. Some things change and some of what we do may disappear altogether but please remember that, 'the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is his faithfulness' (Lamentations 3.22-23). Amen.

Revd Sian