St Denys' and St Mark's Joint Benefice

  • The Rectory
  • Mayfield Road
  • Rotherfield
  • East Sussex
  • TN6 3LU

01892 852536
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July 2018

One of life’s difficulties can be choosing the rights paths to take.  I’m sure many of us feel there are occasions when we are standing at crossroads, not sure of which way to go, weighing up our options and wondering what the right decision is.

When our children are young we hope that the advice and encouragement they receive will put them in good standing to make life-enhancing decisions in the years ahead.  As a parent or grandparent, you want the best for children and you hope that they have listened over the years to the advice and counsel that has been given to them.  However, I’m sure, as I know from my own experience I didn’t always listen as carefully as may have done.  I now realise what I consider was my mum ‘going on’ was her kindly advice and support.  How important it is for us to listen, to listen attentively and thoughtfully.

From a spiritual perspective, I wonder how much really listen to what God, our Heavenly Father might be wanting to say to us.  Our lives can be busy with all sorts of things and at times it is difficult to find the time to be quiet and still in order to listen to the inner voice.  Shortly, I will take time to pull-back from my parish duties and spend several days within a monastic community.  Hopefully, it will be a time of quiet and peaceful reflection, but open to what God might be saying to me.  I usually return with a fresh perspective and with new areas to prioritise in my ministry.

Whilst we can be thinking of what God might be saying to us as individuals, we also have to think in terms of listening together a faith community.  There are times when, we as it were, withdraw from the usual activities to come together and seek God.  Recently, folk from St Denys took time away in order to consider what God might want us to prioritise in the life and mission of the church community.  

We spent the day talking, listening and reflecting on a day-course focusing on church growth.  We tried together to work out where we have got to as a Christian community, our strengths, our successes and areas where we might develop further.  This involved seeking God’s perspective and will for us and are attempts to discern his priorities.  Prayer as a Christian community is part of that when we listen as well as ask.  God’s voice is not always, as Elijah experienced, in the loud, exciting or dramatic, but in the silence or the quiet, thoughtful moment when we realise what is really important.

Some of us are also taking part in the “Everybody’s Welcome” course which is also helping us look at the direction in which we are going, to challenge ourselves to change, develop and build on the good things we are already doing.

Once we are confident of the direction we are going, the challenge of ‘change’ being unwanted and resisted will become much less of an obstacle, and we will go forward with a sense of confidence.