River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Rector's Letter

June 2002

The Queen's Jubilee celebrations

June this year brings the Queen's Jubilee celebrations when we celebrate 50 years of a good Queen. The Church of England can certainly be thankful for the role our Queen as carried out her role as head and protector of the Church. She has been dutiful and concerned with the future of the Church with is as much of a traditional institution of this country as the monarchy itself. But times have changed and the institutions are changing too as they must if they are to continue to be relevant and good for our country.

The Church, particularly in the countryside, still has a unique place in community life. In the villages the Church is still thought of with affection and supported when needed. It is seen as being something good. But as times have changed the role and influence of the Church in rural areas has declined. With ease of transport people travel to activities or churches that suit them. This has resulted in small village congregations and fewer village amenities in general.

As the Queen is working hard to modernize the royal family's role in public life so the Church is working hard to remain healthy and relevant today. As with the monarchy the Church embodies much that is good about our nation as well as much that is generally seen as outdated and out of touch with the lives people lead. The Church must either adapt or die. This is not new to the Church that has adapted and found its place through centuries of upheaval. The Church is seeking for ways to be involved in and support wider non-religious community events.

The Church is finding new ways to help people understand the spiritual dimension to human life. New Churches are being built and old Churches are being closed as populations move.

The Church values its tradition and history but it is not a museum or preservation society. The past is valued for the wisdom learned; for what that wisdom can contribute to peoples lives now and in the future. The Church exists to show the world that there is a spiritual dimension to life and that Jesus Christ can help make sense of it all. For the Church to be the Church it must continue to be open to the guidance of God's spirit. This will mean being equally willing to embrace or oppose change as God may direct. It means being open to your ideas and thoughts. God may be speaking to the Church through you whether you know it or not. So please let me know what you think the Church should be doing. I would love to hear from you. But being open to God's spirit also means that the Church may choose to be something you or I object to.

I hope we can celebrate the 50 years of the Queen's rule at least as well as we celebrated 2000 years of Christ's rule and Christian history at the turn of the millennium. With this in mind I would ask you to pray for the health of monarchy, state and church.

God bless you,

Revd Nigel Tuffnell

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