An Unceasing Chain of Worshippers

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

It is now well over thirty years since I qualified as an accountant.

After several years of studying for exams, at the same time as going to work, I was solemnly elected to membership of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. My “reward” was that I could place “CPFA” after my name – and pay a large sum of money in subscriptions each year for the privilege of doing so.

When I left secular employment to train for the priesthood I wondered if it was really worth continuing to pay my subscription but was persuaded by a friend to do so. It was, he said, ‘part of who you are.’

But in those years I have made no use whatsoever of my membership. I have been to none of its seminars or any of the regional meetings – I haven’t even taken the cover off the weekly magazine. In effect, all I have done is stump up my membership fee: I am a nominal member – no more than a name on a piece of paper.

Such membership, of course, is meaningless. Belonging to any organisation should mean being involved and playing a part – and this is worth bearing in mind when it comes to being part of the Church.

We may carry the label “Christian” but that by itself is insufficient. We need to meet together, to worship, to pray, to learn and to work together, united in the common cause of Christ. We need to offer our time and our effort as well as our money, looking for ways in which what God has given each of us, in the way of gifts and resources, may be used for the good of all.

Above all, we need to make time for one another, so that we are not simply members on paper but a family in practice. To be Christian means to be part of the body of Christ.

We know that generations of Alnwick folk have worshipped on the site of St. Michael’s at least since the 12th century – perhaps even since the 8th – and so we give thanks that we, in our day, are part of an unceasing chain of worshippers and celebrate the wonderful fact that we belong to Christ and are part of his body in this place.

And as we do so, let us ensure that we make time for that precious fellowship which arises from being part of the Church here in Alnwick. By doing so we will know even better the strength that comes through sharing together in the joys and sorrows of life.

All praise to our redeeming Lord,
who joins us by his grace,
and bids us each to each restored,
together seek his face.

He bids us build each other up;
and, gathered into one,
to our high calling’s glorious hope
we hand in hand go on.
(Charles Wesley)

With every blessing,
Paul.

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