The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

Associate Rector

The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 01689 852843

Assistant Priest

The Revd.

Bill Mullenger

020 8462 9624


April Leader

I recently attended a conference called the ‘New Wine Leadership Conference’, which is a national gathering of church leaders. The phrase ‘new wine’ comes from a parable that Jesus told in Mark chapter 2, and in Matthew and Luke, where ‘new wine’ seems to refer to the idea of God doing something new. As a phrase it has come to be associated with the idea of renewal in the church. The theme of this conference was ‘Transforming Your Community’. We heard stories from one church leader who has been bringing together artists, business leaders and politicians in his area to find solutions to local problems. We heard from one American pastor whose church took over the running of their local theatre when it was in danger of being shut down. In our own area there are similar stories of churches blessing their local communities. One church in Sidcup has taken over running the local library, which was also in danger of being closed down.

Some of these stories can feel overwhelming, where they seem to involve huge resources – whether financial or human. However, the idea of ‘transforming your community’ carries an uncanny resemblance to the vision we felt God gave us as a church some months before I attended that conference. After a long process, we had felt God outlining a vision for us of ‘transforming our community through the presence of Christ’. For me, this vision is encouraging because at its heart it is not about having unlimited resources, or inexhaustible manpower. At its heart are the four words ‘the presence of Christ’. The presence of Christ is something that is available to all of us, whatever our age, ability or financial status may be. It is the presence of Christ that is ultimately the source of true transformation.

In John chapter 2, Jesus transforms water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Here the presence of Christ transformed a community, but different people experienced it in different ways. The bridegroom and the wine taster may not have even been aware of Christ’s presence, however they knew when something had changed. Then there were the servants – the ones who filled up jars with water, drew it out and saw that it was in fact wine. They knew that something had changed and they knew that Jesus was responsible. In John Chapter 2 verse 11 there is then an amazing statement: ‘This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him’. Like the bridegroom, the disciples knew that something was different. Like the master of the banquet, they knew that something had changed. Like the servants, they knew that something had changed and that Jesus was responsible. For the disciples, however, it went further than that. They knew that something had changed, they knew that Jesus was responsible and they wanted to put their faith in Him.

We believe that the presence of Christ in a community is a source of transformation. The presence of Christ can bring hope, healing and reconciliation to a community. Some people may notice change in friends or family or neighbours. Some may notice change and know that Jesus is responsible. Some may notice change, know that Jesus is responsible and want to put their faith in Him. Towards the end of the Alpha course that we ran in 2017 one of the participants said, ‘when I started this course I was an atheist, but now I want to get baptised’. Our hope is that for some people in our community who encounter the presence of Christ, ‘transforming’ will mean exactly that.

Stephen Broadie




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