Dear All,

February may be thought of as a time of hibernation, or a time of early Spring growth.  I suppose it may depend on your mood, whether you are having to isolate for health reasons, or if there’s snow and ice about.

As part of the Frenchay community, serving through the Parish Church, I am excited by what lies ahead for us in the coming months.

When at Trinity Theological College, Bristol, studying for ordination some 30 years ago, I was struck by a sketch that some of my colleagues put on.  The lads obviously enjoyed going down to the pub and having a pint.  If I remember rightly, they mimed drinking a pint of beer as they shouted out the following 3-stage mantra: Action!  Reaction!  Reflection!   With ‘Action’ they raised their right arms and tipped their wrists; with ‘Reaction’ they removed the imaginary pint from their lips and licked their lips; with ‘Reflection’ they breathed out a great sigh of satisfaction.  An excellent model for pastoral practice in our future parishes!

Dave Bookless, who led this theological exercise, is now Director of Theology for A Rocha International, having co-founded A Rocha with his wife back in 2001. “A Rocha UK is part of the worldwide family of organisations committed to nature conservation as an expression of Christian mission. It works collaboratively with others who share a passion for nature, a healthy environment and a just transition to a low carbon world.”  (quoted from their website).

Linking the sketch with our community in Frenchay at this time, I could just advertise the White Lion!  However, I would like to think that we are a community which begins with ‘Reflection’ – giving thanks for all that is good, allowing us to look forward and plan.  Then as a community we try things out, building on the ‘Action’ we have already experimented with previously, and then together we share our ‘Reaction’ as the events of the year unfold.  Before we once more reflect and plan as the cycle continues.

All that is good will therefore grow.  And that must please God who is the author of all that is Good.  I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Rev Charles Sugden.