From the Rectory
September 2010

God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good. Genesis 1:31

I recently sat on the beach at Southbourne with some of my family; four adults and two small children, Lila and Josie. We gathered around us blankets to sit on, there was a small sun-resistant tent for the little ones, a pushchair, bags and toys. In all quite a settlement. We walked and played on the beach, paddled in the sea, even ventured to sail a rubber dinghy. Then, almost exhausted from the fun and games we packed up and went home, the tide came in and erased every sign that we’d ever been there. The sun shone, the sea glistened and I thought how very lucky we all were to have the opportunity to be together and to enjoy the lovely weather. We had been in God’s created world, we enjoyed it, we appreciated it and we left it clear and clean for others to enjoy after we had left. There was not so much as a footprint to say that we’d been there.

It reminded me in some way of that piece of verse so often read at funerals, ‘Footprints’. When Bryan Apps came to preach and re-visit his old parish he spoke about the work that was done during his tenure here. He, and those faithful disciples of his time certainly left their mark. My goodness me what an enormous task they had to undertake to keep Christ Church open and functioning. There must have been many times of trial and suffering when they needed the Lord to carry them. They had a clear vision of what needed to be done and the Lord saw to it that they finished what they started out to do. We are I’m sure, all grateful that they had such solid resolve and that God was walking with them at that time.

I mentioned to Bryan after the service that I knew his brother John quite well from the 1970’s. We both belonged to the same amateur dramatic Society in Bishopstoke - The Young Leaguers Union, a Methodist Group. We put on three plays a year and John was notorious for not learning his lines. Everyone else had to learn his part as well as their own just in case they needed to fill in what he left out. In one play I took the part of the Curate in an Agatha Christie play, Murder at the Vicarage, and wore one of Bryan’s cassocks in the play! A portent of what was to come? Although one of my neighbours was murdered once, it didn’t happen at the vicarage!

Yours for Christ's sake.