Letters From the Ministry Team

The Rev Andrew Sully The Ven Mary Stallard

September 2018

admin : September 7, 2018 11:44 am : Lettersfromtheministryteam

There’s an infectious sense of new beginnings at the start of September, even if we don’t have children or grandchildren of school age, most of us can remember the thrill and anticipation of a new academic year or starting at a new school. The shops in town are stocked with clothes and accessories for learning and we know that a change in the pace of life is coming as the school holidays draw to a close for many.

Our family has already had the privilege of a new start in this parish since we moved in a few months ago. We’re so grateful to everyone from the town who has given us such a great welcome. Lots of things are new to us here and we’re enjoying learning fresh things each day.

Living close to the Jewish retreat centre on Church Walks means that we’re daily amongst people who have the courage and distinctiveness to wear special clothing as a sign of their faith. It may sometimes be controversial, but I think it’s wonderful to see people wearing signs of their devotion. Just as school children wear the uniform of their school, so our Jewish neighbours (just like our Sikh and Muslim friends) remind us of the value of communicating loyalty to a relationship with God through outward signs of faith.

At the beginning of a new school year, there’s an opportunity for all of us to make a new start in some way and witness to our commitment. Of course, growing in faith takes practice and often involves failure. Sometimes we need to completely change the way that we think or behave: I remember as a child struggling with maths and wanting new equipment every September. There were expensive maths sets you could buy in tins with a ruler, a protractor, set-squares and a compass. I used to think that if only I had these then somehow maths would be easier! It took years for me to learn that it was more important to work to understand the subject than to have the coolest accessories (and I’m not sure I ever really understood what a set-square was for.)

This summer our church community has already embraced new things. In addition to many great activities, one particular joy of the past month has been the daily pilgrim prayer at St Tudno’s. Thanks to a whole variety of people who volunteered to lead this there’s been a regular fresh heartbeat of prayer that has engaged many and been a wonderful source of hope and encouragement.

The practice of prayer is a great place to start if we are keen to renew our faith. Edith Stein – the German Jewish philosopher who converted to Christianity and who died in Auschwitz – spoke about this, recognising the wisdom of being gentle with ourselves as we try to learn new things. She recommended that each day “…when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been and how much you planned that has gone undone and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and trust it to Him.”

I look forward to continuing the learning journey in your company.

Yours in Christ

Mary

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August 2018

admin : September 7, 2018 11:39 am : Lettersfromtheministryteam

I’ve been here for two months and almost all the boxes are now unpacked at the Rectory. It’s a strange experience seeing familiar things in an unfamiliar context – from pieces of old furniture to our feral cat Albus – but this summer’s fantastic weather has certainly helped with the settling-in process. When the Great Orme is drenched in sunlight, or there’s a stunning sunset on the distant Irish Sea, it’s quite remarkably beautiful, sublime even. It produces in me feelings of connection with the natural world of which we are ourselves a part.

And that’s partly why I’ve been impressed with something else in my new environment – the local primary school, Ysgol San Sior, and in particular its efforts to help children look at and connect with nature and wildlife in its schoollife and curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to get up close and personal with creatures as varied as chickens and tortoises to more exotic insects and reptiles like bull frogs and chameleons. The ethos of giving children first hand experiences –the chance to see things in a different way – has won the school international accolades and a visit last week by Prince Charles.

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of spending a few days next to the Sea of Galilee in the Holy Land. It was early Spring and the sunshine, the flowers, bird life and landscape took my breath away. Suddenly the biblical landscape so familiar in my mind’s eye became an actual, real place of tranquility and extraordinary calm. Suddenly Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount took on another dimension, as the place and the advice of Jesus came together:

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.

“And consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. How much more valuable you are than birds.”

So much of faith is about seeing the ordinary things of life in a different light. Simply put, faith can be like seeing the world with fresh eyes, like glasses that have been wiped clean and through which everything is suddenly clear and vibrant and alive. And we in turn are amazed and dazzled by the beauty that is all around us and of the gift of life itself.

Yours in Christ

Andrew

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July 2018

admin : September 7, 2018 11:04 am : Lettersfromtheministryteam

Can I begin by thanking those people who have worked so hard during the Interregnum to keep things ticking over; especially those retired clergy who offered support by taking services and the church wardens who have worked so hard at maintaining the church over these past seven months.

The task at hand for us as a fledgling ministry area is to produce a mission statement about how we are addressing the three diocesan priorities of

  • worshipping God,
  • growing the church, and
  • loving the world.

As disciples of Christ our first call is to glorify and enjoy God – to offer all of our lives to God in service for blessing, and to acknowledge that everything comes from God and belongs to God. Secondly, we are called to deepen and share our faith in God with others – so that the Church grows numerically and grows in spirituality and grace. Thirdly, as disciples of Christ, we are called to love the world by selfless acts of giving and generous attitudes – to love the world by showing and living the hope of the Cross and Resurrection.

To help in this work, I’ll be producing a questionnaire to help get your views and ideas about how we can best work together to further the ministry of the Church in this place. This will involve conversations with people about their hopes and vision for Holy Trinity and St. Tudno’s so that a detailed picture can emerge over time that all will feel able to recognise, to give their consent to and to own. My role is to try and enable these two church communities to deeper their discipleship and to enable the people of God to be the people God is calling us to become.

At the minute so much is new, and I must beg your forbearance and patience as I feel my way into becoming your spiritual leader. Please pray for us as a family as we settle into your midst and journey with you in what will be both exciting and challenging times ahead.

Yours in Christ

Andrew

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