Minister's Letter - May 2019

Dear friends,

I was absolutely sure that I was not going to say anything about the fire at Notre-Dame at Easter because, although I was sorry to see such a beautiful building burn, I found it hard to hear of the millions raised for its rebuilding while millions of people around the world suffer because their situations don’t attract the same support. I was thinking about those who have had their lives turned upside down by the cyclone which has devastated parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe and about the millions of refugees from wars and ethnic cleansing. I was also thinking about those suffering the effects of austerity in Europe. I could go on. I think you get the point.

Yet I found myself using a picture of the cross lit up by the sunlight in the midst of a pile of roof timbers as a symbol of resurrection for our Early Service. One headline said “Passion, resurrection collide at Mass after Notre Dame fire”. I want to say, of course, isn’t it obvious! Resurrection is only possible when it comes out of passion, which is why this image works so well. If that’s it, if all we do is marvel at the picture, we’ve not understood resurrection. So maybe those who have given their millions have understood, although I would pray that they might also see the suffering, the passion playing itself out all around the world now and share in bringing new life there as well.

This also asks questions of us: Have we moved on from hearing about Christ’s resurrection to living it? Where and how are we witnessing to resurrection in the midst of suffering? They are questions for us as individuals and as a church. In the coming months, we’ll be exploring a series of questions that the Winchester, Eastleigh and Romsey Circuit is asking – as we begin to shape our strategy for mission and ministry in our churches and the communities we serve. There are eight questions, and none of them are about resurrection, and yet it undergirds them all. For if Christians aren’t engaged in enabling people to experience the new life of resurrection, then we’re missing the point. Our life as individuals and churches needs to witness to resurrection, in our words and our deeds, through our lives and prayers – in all and through all. Happy Easter. Sue.