April 2019

April Fool’s Day is something rather special for many people, not least advertisers and big business, who often use hoax’s to attract publicity.  Burger King once issued a press release (in America I might add) announcing a new addition to their menu….the ‘Left-Handed Whopper’ specially designed for the 33+ million left-handed Americans.  According to the text, the new Whopper had the same ingredients as the original, but the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of left-handed customers.  The following day Burger King announced the hoax, but commented on the thousands of customers requesting the new Whopper, and the thousands more complaining there was no Right-Handed version available.  Which just goes to show that if you do it right, people will come together for the promise of something new, and (of course) that ‘there’s nowt as strange as folk.’

 

Speaking of new things, the Pilgrims Way churches are pleased to announce that Thurnham and Detling parishes have, from 1st April 2019, become a unified parish.  This concludes the original plan when drawing together the parishes of Boxley, Detling, Thurnham, Hucking and Hollingbourne into a single Ministry Area and will allow the group of churches to begin plans for a combined future within the North Downs Benefice as a whole.  Many will celebrate this event.  Others will mourn the loss of St Mary the Virgin as a parish Church in its own right.  Still others will mourn the separation of Bearsted and Thurnham, but new relationships beckon

 

Christianity has much to say about relationships.  Sometimes they are broken, other times they are forged, or re-forged as is the case with Detling and Thurnham.  In the Church we often use the terms relationship and fellowship interchangeably.  Fellowship means (at least in the Greek) ‘a partnership to the mutual benefit of those involved.’ For christians such fellowship is derived through the mystery and privilege of God’s enabling grace.  Those who believe in the gospel are united in the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ to the Father, and in the very unity of the Holy Spirit we find unity as Christians in our shared values, purposes, goals and beliefs.  I pray that as the unified parish of Detling and Thurnham begin a new chapter in the life of their witness to the world, they can begin to identify shared values and goals as they begin discerning God’s will for their mission to the communities in which they find themselves.

 

There will likely be times when not all agree.  Just as Paul and Barnabas did not agree in Acts.  Indeed Paul wrote the Epistles to address disagreements in the Early Church and even today the Church does not always find itself in accord.  But when we work together, without judgement or anger, retribution or blame then we can move forwards.  But it needs unity.  Unity of mind and sense of purpose, with a clearly defined goal.  Because without a goal, how do you know how to reach it.  More to the point, without a goal, how do you know when you’ve reached it? 

 

May April bring you fun, laughter, a few Easter Eggs (or more) and Christ’s peace in your hearts as you make your way in the world.

Rev Paul