Elections are in the air. No, don’t turn over the page! I’m not joining the pre-election morass of words and promises. Though I do support my fellow bishops in our Pastoral Letter that caused such a fuss in February. You can find it on the diocesan website if you haven’t seen it. The basic message is: politics has become somewhat sterile and self-interested – so turn out and vote to improve things.
But there are other elections also happening. In your parish church, the Annual Parochial Church Meeting is an opportunity to choose churchwardens and church council members. And, maybe, even stand for election yourself. It’s too easy in church life to grumble about how ‘they’ do things: but perhaps the right thing is to offer to take part and help to do it better. Then there are elections to Deanery Synods.
The old joke is that a Deanery Synod is ‘a collection of people waiting to go home’. I would like that to change to ‘a collection of people listening to God and each other’- as together we navigate the tricky waters of the future of our churches. Actually, your Deanery Synod members are rather important. They have to elect a new Diocesan Synod this year – and I am very keen that our Synod helps grasp the many opportunities and challenges that the Church is currently facing.
And lastly, a new General Synod is to be elected this autumn. Any church member can be a candidate, but Deanery Synod reps are critical, because they actually choose who gets elected. So, take the General Election prayerfully and seriously. But please also take our church elections seriously too. You might be one of the people God is calling to serve his church by taking on a role as PCC member, Deanery, Diocesan or General Synod representative. It could be you! That is something to think and pray about.
With warm best wishes
+Peter Bath and Wells
Our churches are continuing the annual review process and Annual Parochial Church Meetings. If you are interested in supporting the people and work of the church, please come along to Dinder to see what has happened over the last 12 months and what we will be thinking about over the next year.
Everyone who is on the Church Electoral Roll is welcome to join in these meetings, which begin with a short public meeting for the election of Churchwardens. Nomination forms for Churchwardens and Parochial Church Council Members are available in the churches. Dinder APCM Monday 13th April at 7.30pm in the church (beginning with a short evening service).
Our annual journey through Lent is almost over and the great celebration of Easter upon us. As we prepare to travel through Holy Week we will think about the last week of Jesus’ life and try to understand some of his journey; from the triumphant entry to Jerusalem, the Passover meal, the emotions in Gethsemane, the depths of betrayal, and the pain of the crucifixion to the heights of Easter Sunday and beyond.
It is this journey through the week that is so important to understanding our faith and our God. Some of the services may not be easy, especially those on Good Friday, when we are led into thinking about, and maybe sharing some of the pain and betrayal of Jesus (obviously just a small echo), but how can we truly celebrate Easter Sunday unless we have shared some of those depths? Our own life journey is filled with highs and lows.
It is true that unless we experience some of the low points we can’t really appreciate the high points. It is the contrast between these experiences that makes our lives what they are. It is the same at Easter – how can we celebrate the risen Christ unless we stand with the crucified Christ? So this Holy week I encourage you to spend some time contemplating Jesus’ earthly journey; maybe you could come to some Easter services you have never been to before (details are in this magazine), or maybe just spend some time reading the Easter Story.
But whatever you do, prepare to enter into the journey to face the pain and uncertainty, and then get ready to appreciate the joy, wonder and hope of Easter Sunday and beyond.