CLERGY TEAM

   

Rector


The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

 jmath@btinternet.com

Associate Rector


The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 01689 852843
revstephenbroadie@
gmail.com

Assistant Priest


The Revd.

Bill Mullenger

020 8462 9624
wsmullenger@
idnetfreemail.co.uk

 

May Leader

Over the past few months we have been busy revising our electoral role.

The Church’s electoral role in Farnborough is a list of all people who consider themselves to be part of St Giles or St Nicholas church.

To qualify for membership on the role a person has to be one or any combination of the following; a Baptised member of the Church of England, a member of a Church in Communion with the C of E, a resident in the parish, or not resident, but an habitual worshipper in the said church.

‘Habitual’ is a well chosen and delightfully Church of England word as it lends itself to an open handed and generous interpretation, as I could habitually attend St Giles once a week, one a month, of even once a year as I habitually eat a Christmas pudding once a year.

To my mind this is the way it should be. William Temple, who was Archbishop of Canterbury during the war, once wrote, ‘The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.’ In other words the Church of England’s sacred mission and ministry is to serve the people of this nation irrespective of whether they attend church regularly, or even whether they are clear about what they believe or do not believe. At times of crisis and at times of joy people should feel no guilt or shame about contacting their parish priest for his or her assistance in marking important occasions in their lives. It is often through this open and generous welcome that people find it easier to move deeper in the life of faith and worship in their parish church.

Sadly this loose sense of membership and affiliation to the Church of England is being gradually eroded, as more and more people don’t feel they can belong on such terms, so they tick ‘none’ on the ‘what is your religion?’ box. Formerly more people were happy to tick C of E, knowing that that the next time they would attend church would be for Uncle Bob’s funeral, or their daughter’s wedding, or the Christmas carol service. Jesus himself had very fluid definitions as to who was part of God’s Kingdom. Throughout the Gospel Jesus is constantly up against people who wanted to restrict membership of God’s kingdom to just a chosen few, whilst excluding any that they thought were undesirable.

Jesus taught that God’s love is for everyone and especially for those who at some level know their need of God. My plea to everyone who lives in Farnborough is to remember that St Giles is your church too. Ticking ‘none’ might not reflect the complexity of our relationship to the church and the cultural Christian heritage of this country. Commitment to Christ is important, as commitment to anything worthwhile is, but we all have to start somewhere, people don’t usually prose on the first date!

Commitment grows from the open and generous love of God that the Church of England should continue to mirror through an open, generous and nuanced understanding of what it means to belong.

Matthew

FAITH AND WORSHIP

 

Clergy Rota Downloads

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May Service Rota
June Service Rota