The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

Associate Rector

The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 01689 854451

Assistant Priest

The Revd.

Bill Mullenger

020 8462 9624


August Leader

On the corner of Tubbenden Lane and Dalton Close there is a milestone, with the engraving ‘XV miles from London Bridge’, and the date ‘1779’ marked underneath. I am sure many of you have walked past it, perhaps on your way back from Orpington station, or when walking the dog. When I first saw it, I found it hard to believe that we were so close to the centre of London. 15 miles does not seem very far away, particularly for someone who once lived in Exeter, some 200 miles from the capital.

By the time this magazine goes to print, I will have celebrated a personal milestone, the first anniversary of my licensing to this parish. The licensing service remains in my mind as a happy memory, a joyful celebration, and it is hard to believe that a year has gone by since then. In our lives, we tend to refer to different events as ‘milestones’ - a wedding perhaps, or a birth, a birthday, an anniversary, or even a confirmation service. We have those hilltop moments, those milestones to be celebrated. However, life is not always like that. St Paul touches on this in one of his most famous passages, 2 Corinthians chapter 12. He describes an experience of being ‘caught up to paradise’. His words may remind us of those ‘mountain top moments’, those high points in our own lives; the milestones, if you like. However, St Paul also goes on to talk about struggling with a ‘thorn in his flesh’, until he finally hears God say in verse 9, ‘my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ As well as the high points, the milestones to be celebrated, we too may be aware of some kind of ‘thorn in our flesh’ - something about our life that is not perfect. Perhaps it is an illness, or someone close to us who is ill, or a difficult situation at work or in the family, or bereavement. As M. Scott Peck said, ‘life is difficult’. Yes, we have those mountain top moments, those tastes of paradise, but most of us have someplace, somewhere, a niggling ‘thorn’.

The retreat leader and writer, Paula D’Arcy, once said that ‘God comes to us disguised as our life’, and I believe that ties in with St Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians. God comes to us in our milestones, in our celebrations, and he also comes to us in our difficulties. ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I remember once thinking that there might come a day when all my problems would go away, a day when I would be able to look around and say - everything is perfect now with my family, my job, my finances, and my future. However, that day never seems to come! I have found, instead, that into our everyday lives - with their highs and their lows, with their paradises and their thorns, with their milestones and their ordinary, unmarked roads - God comes. Whether we are celebrating a milestone, or encountering thorns, my prayer is that we would know God’s presence with us, and hear that promise for ourselves, ‘my grace is sufficient for you’.

Stephen Broadie



Clergy Rota Downloads

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August Service Rota
September Service Rota

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