A message from The Rev’d Lyn McRostie, Rector of Northwood.

Posted by Admin on 20 February 2010, 5:09 pm

I’ve been looking back at previous parish magazine articles. Just under a year ago I shared with you that I was wrestling with the question of what the church is for. It’s a question I’m still looking at – because I’ve come to understand that it’s a question I have to live with and this side of the Second Coming will probably not be fully answered – but we do what we can with faith in Christ, not in the world.

Our present culture wants us to have goals, targets, measurable success (or failure) over specific time periods. That’s not what the church is about. We’re about God, Jesus Christ and the love that God has for his creation – you, me, this world. That’s why I was encouraged by what the new Bishop of Portsmouth, Christopher Foster, has to say.

Bishop Christopher’s appointment to our Diocese was announced on 9th February. Modern life being what it is, his appointment was announced on the Internet at 0730 that day and his first multimedia interview was at 0740. He had several other interviews during the day, some of which were fascinated by his revelation that he is a very committed Wolves supporter and is looking forward to being at Fratton Park when Pompey and Wolves next meet …!

He comes with a lot of life experience – he’s already an assistant Bishop in the St Alban’s Diocese; he worked in teaching before he was ordained; his first wife died of cancer.

He came to Portsmouth and the Island on the day his appointment was announced and here are his thoughts about being a bishop and about being Christian. “I haven’t got a manifesto,” he said. “Being bishop involves discernment and waiting on God. In my first months, I’ll look forward to discovering more about the Church here, and listening to others before we discern the way forward. And it won’t be my way, but God’s way forward. “All Christians should have some guiding characteristics, qualities that can be seen in individual’s lives and in the life of the Church. I’d like to identify four.

“Firstly, Christians are called to be compassionate in their caring for other people.  Secondly, they are called to share in what God is doing already in the world in his  mission and ministry. Thirdly, Christians are called to encourage discipleship, to draw other people into the love of God. And fourthly, they stand for truth, for  justice and for peace. I’d like to lead a Church with those qualities.”

Do you find that exciting?

I do.

I think that we have to acknowledge the challenges that face us, to work out what we can do in response and to be realistic. I’m encouraged by the words of another bishop, Oscar Romero, who lived in South America. He wrote this:

“We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. We  cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.”

We are now in the season of Lent, a time traditionally used to reflect and pray on how better we can serve God and the world. Are you able to make time to think and pray on what you would like the church to be and do at this time?


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