One of our most important roles as Archdeacons, working closely with our bishops, involves the pastoral care of the clergy and lay leaders of our varied worshipping communities. It’s a role we enjoy, one that we are always aware we could do better in, and a role that we sense is perhaps needed now more than ever.
Like the rest of our clergy and some of our licensed lay leaders, we had the privilege of joining together recently at the Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire for our triennial clergy conference. On the way back, we were reflecting on how much has changed since we last gathered three years ago and on the many conversations we had had over the conference.
We were struck by just how exhausted many of our clergy feel in this post-pandemic period. Yet we were also struck by the hope they expressed, and how committed they remain to their vocation of care, worship, service and mission. To all who serve so faithfully across our worshipping communities and in so many other contexts of God’s world, we want to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’.
We also, though, want to remind you (and ourselves) of something we said at our recent shared visitation services where we admitted our Churchwardens to office. In those services we were reflecting together on Luke’s wonderful story of the encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. One of the things that struck us was the way in which Jesus, towards the end the story, sitting around the table and sharing a meal with the disciples, moves from being their guest (they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over‘) to their host (‘When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them’). It seemed to us then, and it still does, that if we are to grow and thrive in these very challenging times, we will need again and again to be reminded that we serve at the invitation of Christ who is ‘the host’ of the Church and the source of our strength. As St Paul argues at the end of Colossians 1, we are called to work and serve not in our own strength but ‘with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in [us].’
Archdeacon Phil and Archdeacon Hilary
3 thoughts on “Message from the Archdeacons, 18 October 2022”
This is true – met a man today desperately needing to rent a house, for himself and at weekends his 8 year old son, obviously throughout the week he’s with his mother. He has money to just about afford the rent but the owner of this separate dwelling from their property won’t allow children ( Ive been very distraught on hearing this ) – what chaos can an 8 year old cause exactly ??
What have these people become … Just praying for them this night that All will be Well for them both.
Your words resonated with me, giving me the strength to carry on my work as a churchwarden while my life is challenging.
Churchwarden St Swithin’s Quinton with Admington
Thank you for this message – I’m sure all our clergy are feeling drained and exhausted and we are thankful that they manage to remain committed to their vocation, and thankful, too, that they receive pastoral care from yourselves.
Let us also give thanks for all our Lay leaders/workers who provide support and assistance to our clergy in so many different ways – they too, are feeling exhausted and stretched.