A letter from Steve - Our Rector
The Christian Soul of the Nation
There are a number of books and TV programmes out recently that talk about the soul
of our nation – who we are, what are British values and what inspires them, where
have we come from and where are we going? I suppose with all the changes coming
up its good to stop for a time of reflection.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has joined in with his new book, Reimagining
Britain: Foundations for hope*.
He writes that Brexit could just be the catalyst that tips Britain into succumbing
to ‘British introspection, xenophobia, and self-pity, if a self-regarding attitude
leads to economic failure and international impotence, as well being morally wrong
in and of itself.’ He warns that already ‘the cracks in society have begun to show,
expressed in crime, in the growth of intolerance, and above all in an inward-turning.’
Justin Welby wrote the book to contribute to the debate on the future of the country,
particularly after Brexit has happened. He stresses that his vision for the future
is based on Christian values of cohesion, courage and sustainability. ‘If we pretend
we do not have a Christian tradition and heritage, we start in a vacuum.’
He urges Churches and Christians to ‘be confident in what we believe’.
‘The UK grew from Christian roots; my hope is that in the future it rediscovers the
power of the narrative that has shaped it for so long and set its values so deeply.’
This is something that has been one of our focuses in 2018 that we have preached
on a number of times – to encourage our confidence as Christians.
I know that sometimes it's easy to feel that we are an isolated minority in our country:
misunderstood and misrepresented in an increasingly secular society.
But I really believe that as Christians we have a lot to be confident about – in
God who made the universe and gives us value and purpose; in Jesus Christ who died
for us and rose from the grave to give us hope for today and for the future; and
in our own life-stories of walking with God through the ups and downs of life.
In Church Lawton we have shown this confidence by boldly going to every house in
our parish to deliver Christmas and Easter magazines of Hope, and invitation cards
to our services, and giving bags of hope to our church visitors.
We need to show this confidence by sharing our stories with the people we meet as
well, and by praying for our family and friends, our neighbours and our country too.
The ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ project is all about that – about sharing our story, and praying
for our Nation. It is running from Ascension to Pentecost (10th – 20th May).
With ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, Justin Welby, and all Church leaders, are calling on Christians
to pray for our country that people might know Jesus Christ, and be confident of
our Christian Heritage.
The hope is that:
People will commit to pray with God’s world-wide family - as a church, individually
or as a family
Churches will hold prayer events, such as 24-7 prayer, prayer stations and prayer
walks, across the UK and in other parts of the world
People will be transformed through prayer by the Holy Spirit, finding new confidence
to be witnesses for Jesus Christ
“In praying 'Thy Kingdom Come' we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of
the nations and the transformation of communities." Archbishop Justin Welby
As you know, our church is open every day from 10am to 4pm for people to drop in
for a time of prayer, and during ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we will be creating some new
ways for visitors to pray in church. I hope that we will encourage visitors to spend
more time in prayer in our beautiful church building.
Across our parish, I hope that our Bible study groups will give a higher focus on
prayer, not just for individual needs, but also for our work and mission in this
I know that not everyone can get to church on a Sunday or to our Bible Study groups,
but we can all take up the challenge to pray in our homes to be part of ‘Thy Kingdom
Please do mark this up in your calendars from Ascension to Pentecost (10th – 20th
May), as a time of more purposeful Prayer. Do look out for more information in church
and think about what you can do in your own way to be part of this call to Pray for
our neighbours, our villages and towns, and our Nation. Your Country Needs You.
* Reimagining Britain: Foundations for hope, by Justin Welby, Bloomsbury, £9.99