NEW St Luke’s curate Revd Michael Ridge reflects on transformation in the current issue of St Luke’s Parish Magazine.
In Mel Gibson’s controversial film The Passion of the Christ, there is a poignant scene when Jesus stumbles as he drags his cross along the Via Dolorosa.
Mary, her heart shattered by the agony of a mother watching her child go to his execution, rushes to help him to his feet and, as he does, she remembers a moment when he had a childhood scrape and how she tenderly helped him and nursed his bruised knees.
And then Mary and Jesus share a private moment; his face bloodied and pulverised, Jesus gasps just one sentence to her, a few words that reveal the reason for the agony they share: “You see, mother, I’m making all things new!”
It reminds me that we have a wonderful saviour, who by the cross was able to reconcile the world to himself and is now in the business of transforming our lives and making all things new, if only we are prepared to open up and let him.
As we prepare to celebrate his coming in the season of advent may this be our prayer: “Lord, being made new speaks of deep transformation in my life. Renew me today by your holy spirit. Amen.”
Auditing church activities to improve outreach
All Saints, the Parish Church of Huntington, near York, carried out an audit of its mid-week activities. It listed a wide range of groups and activities and the church appeared to be very active for its medium size.
But various questions were raised as to what that actually meant in practice: who came to these activities and who didn’t?
How effective were they, both in meeting the needs for which they existed and in contributing to the overall life of the parish?
This audit was carried out to answer the kind of questions the new vicar wanted answering before he began formulating a way forward.
He needed clarity on what could be built on, what should, perhaps, change or even be allowed to die and where were the gaps?
Maybe, however, such audits might be valuable not just when a new vicar arrives?
How much and with what accuracy do churches know about the impact and effectiveness as outreach of their mid-week groups and activities?
Trust in professionals
Only 13% of us trust politicians to tell the truth (down from 21% last year), making them the least trusted profession in Britain, a position previously held by journalists.
16% believe government ministers are truthful (down from 24%).
Doctors remain the most trusted on 92%, followed by teachers on 88%.
How about church leaders?