As I write, the news headlines are full of the debate prior to the referendum on Scottish independence due to take place on September 18.The campaign for Scotland to remain in the Union has been running under the tag line 'Better Together.' By the time you read this you will know whether the Scottish elector ate have decided they are better together or not. Currently I have no idea which way the vote will go, but what I do know is that 'Better Together' aptly sums up what St Paul would want to say to our churches.
Unity is fundamental
In the New Testament there are 13 letters attributed to St Paul and virtually all of them stress the need for unity amongst Christians. For St Paul, unity is not an optional extra, it is fundamental. 'Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose/ he writes to the church in Corinth. 'Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace/ he writes to the church in Ephesus.
Mission Action Planning
Our PCC has embarked on a process under the banner 'Mission Action Planning' (MAP)which involves reviewing where wc are now as a Parish and deciding what our vision for the next five years should be. From this will flow specific priorities for the coming years which will then be developed into specific measurable goals. This process will shortly reach the stage when the PCC will wish to consult with congregations. Please be willing to listen and have your say. Meanwhile, if you have views about where our priorities should lie, please speak to a PCC member.
Every now and again a sentence from a talk or a sermon lodges in my mind. One I heard over 30 years ago is this, 'change is inherent in the purposes of God.' This is true on a personal and corporate level. Few really welcome change,especially in the church! But change can't be avoided for ever. By staying the same,we may exhibit a superficial unity around the comfortable and familiar, but in the end that would be the unity of the graveyard.
The MAP process will bring about change and with change comes the danger of disunity. I know that as ideas are debated not everything I see as best will be accepted. The same will be true for all of us and, therefore, we will need to take special care to maintain healthy relationships with each other. "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves" St Paul advises the church in Philippi. My prayer is that, as we discuss the future together we will be continually mindful of the fact that we are indeed 'Better Together.'