The Right Reverend Robert Byrne was installed as the fourteenth...
One of the Easter Gospel readings addresses the issue of discernment so essential as we look forward as a church with limited personnel and energies. It’s the occasion, days after Christ rose, when the disciples fish unfruitfully until they get discerning advice from the Lord who appears beside them on the lakeside.
Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. John 21.5-6
Over the last year we’ve prayed discernment as a Church - and we’ve received it!
A year ago we were fishing fabric-wise on ‘the left side of the boat’ as our PCC gave attention to best provision of amenities including a toilet at St Giles. The Lord turned our attention during 2012 to ‘the right hand side’ as Jesus opened up the church centre refurbishment as a possibility through our identifying and successfully seeking funding. That hasn’t meant the church toilet being forgotten, just that Our Lord gave us discernment through circumstances to shift our priorities as we sought to enhance our buildings overall to better serve our Mission Action Plan forgrowth in faith, love and numbers.
Faithful to that leading, and the call to fish for, or rather engage with new people we’ve set out a major challenge for 2013 asmaking the church centre a more effective mission focus serving to bring new folk into the orbit of God’s love. If that’s to happen we need people on board, people well formed in Christian faith to help build outreach.
Over the last two years several of us have been fishing to get connections with village youth. We sense, as if from the Lord, we need his discernment to fish elsewhere for them or for whoever the Lord has up his sleeve to lead youth outreach. That’s why we’ve written down another 2013 challenge as involving more young adults in church leadership.
Through intercessory prayer for the spreading of the gift of faith we open ourselves to Our Lord’s invitation to fish in the right place. In a Sussex village, which census returns show to be predominantly Christian, we sense a good number of folk would come to Church if asked in the right way by the right person. Hence a call being given for our members firstly to identify who in their acquaintance, or down their street, may be open to an invitation from them to attend St Giles and secondly to commit daily in prayer to the spread of faith.
Each one reach one – by scissor blades of prayer and invitation – is our motto as we ‘fish with the Lord’s discernment’, individually and as a Church for his mission opportunities.