Fr Clive's Epistle June 2012
I am really appreciative of the warm welcome I have received from everyone I have met so far and look forward to meeting more of you soon, especially at our celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee… and, of course, in church!
For those of you who have not met me yet let me introduce myself. I was born and grew up in Limavady, a town in the North West of Northern Ireland so speak with a ‘foreign’ accent. I studied chemistry at Queen’s University, Belfast and theology at Trinity College, Dublin. Having been ordained for the Diocese of Armagh I served in South Tyrone and South Armagh before crossing to Scotland to be diocesan missioner in the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway and subsequently Rector of the Glasgow East End Team Ministry. I moved to Norfolk in 2008 and since arriving in this diocese I have been involved in leading retreats and quiet days, giving spiritual direction, setting up a diocesan Ministry Consultants Scheme and carrying out congregational reviews. I have also worked in a religious gift shop in Walsingham.
As a musician I enjoy a diverse taste in music and, when possible, love an evening at the theatre. Recently I have been to see ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Grease’ and ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ at the Theatre Royal in Norwich. I am also passionate about body building and work out regularly at the gym in Wells-next-the-Sea!
Since taking up my appointment I have been privileged to have conducted two weddings and participated in a third. These have all been great celebrations of the love the couple share with each other. The joys of the great loves of our life, husband or wife, children, satisfying work, loyal friends, all point to the great source of all this, God. So do the great joys we receive from music, sport, and travel. Many a grateful person asks: “How did I ever deserve this?” Balancing all this are the tragedies and injustices of life that tempt us to despair and hopelessness. Despite the good will and generous actions we see and hear of, the overwhelming picture of our world is often discouraging. Any morning the news is of a festering war between two peoples, of a child killed by the cross fire of two warring factions, of a flight diverted because of a bomb threat, of a politician guilty of deception, of a young person dying of leukaemia, of a disgruntled employee killing fellow workers. No matter how much heroism there is, how much unselfishness, how many good ordinary people, it seems as if a flood of evil and sin threatens to inundate us all. The justice, peace and love we long for are only realized in fits and starts. Our ultimate trust and hope are rooted in the saving power of Christ working, fortunately, through many people but bringing peace and joy fully only beyond this troubled world. Our daily prayer and exercise of hope, trust and joy testify that we put our hopes for the world in God’s power. “You must hold fast to faith, be firmly grounded and steadfast in it, unshaken in the hope promised you by the gospel you have heard” (Colossians 1:22).
My vision is to build a community where everyone is welcomed as Christ and all are encouraged, through a deepening relationship with Jesus as Lord and Saviour, to grow together in our worship of God, our study of His Word, in our life of prayer in God and in our offering of our lives to love others as Christ loves us.