Welcome again to our webcast video service, to be found by way of this link:
I am delighted today to welcome again Bishop David Williams, the Bishop of Basingstoke, to share a reflection with us.
At St Peter’s, at 10am, Canon Sue Wallace is presiding at the Eucharist and preaching.
At St Stephen’s, at 10.45am, Fr Stephen Holmes will preside and preach.
At St Augustin’s at 10am, Fr James Sharp, our friendly neighbouring pioneer priest from Winton, Charminster and Moordown, will welcome people back to worship, presiding and preaching.
On 30th August at St Peter’s at 10am, when I preside again, after our Summer break, the Rev’d Bryan Apps will kindly preach.
At St Stephen’s at 10.45 am on 30th August, we benefit from the long-standing ministry of LLM, Roger Marley, who will kindly lead an Ante-Communion Service of reading the Word and preaching about it, after which he is authorised, on this occasion, to distribute the sacrament in one kind from the reserve.
The Rev’d Steve Parselle will kindly preside and preach at St Augustin’s at 10am.
My huge gratitude to them all.
In September we move into another phase, which for some will be a little more relaxed, with the ongoing pandemic precautions. I am delighted that Lisa will be no longer furloughed and it will be her notoriously cheery emails that accompany the video webcast links, which we aim to continue. It is also a great joy that our choirs will be able to sing again – in duly distanced ways. Sadly, it will take longer before anyone else (ie congregational worshippers) should sing hymns with them. Singing is such an important part of worship that this is very frustrating – however, all will come in due course.
During this past week, I have dipped into a fascinating book by the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams – “The Lion’s World”. (SPCK, 2012). It is one of those books, which I bought just after it was published eight years ago, that has been awaiting ‘the right moment’. Sitting in our garden (from which I generally welcome you to our video services each week, courtesy of our son, Nick, who is behind the camera) this week I found some of those moments, and found it really insightful – a great read! Any of you who have enjoyed C.S. Lewis’ children’s stories about ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ will be likely to enjoy Rowan’s imaginative analysis of the themes and characters. He touches on connecting themes going between all the books in the series, and between some of Lewis’ other writings. He opens up our understanding of the Kingdom of Narnia – reached as you go through the door in the wardrobe – and, as the title suggests, Williams digs deeper into understanding the central ‘hero’ of all the stories, the lion, Aslan.
Coming from a different direction, some of you might have grown up, as I did, with C.S. Lewis’ popular books commending the Christian faith to ‘everyday readers’. Such books as ‘Mere Christianity’, ‘Letters to Malcom – chiefly on prayer’, ‘The Problem of Pain’, ‘A Grief Observed’, ‘Surprised by Joy’, and others, were my companions as a teenager (along with T.S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy and an abiding passion for Sherlock Holmes and other detective stories). These books sold out time and time again and are still in print and well worth reading. They summarise the Christian faith cogently. However, these ideas appear in a whole new light when seen alongside his imaginative story-telling for children. For me, it all gells together – I hope that you might find this fertile combination of intuitive imagination with sharp analysis helpful to you. Sometimes a good story is the best way of accessing some of life’s deeper mysteries.
Enjoy the week!