Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest,” are some of the most enduringly comforting words in the Bible.
As I write my very first contribution to the Copenhagen Post, I hope you will have had time to take advantage of that very unusual of Danish delights: scorching hot weather! You might even call it an Indian summer, and I feel I’m on holiday with new things to experience, see and do!
Rocking the cradle
Allow me to introduce myself: I was cradled in the Church of South India where Anglican, Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian and Reformed churches come together. “May they be one,” is the motto. I experienced this powerfully in the African ‘ubuntu’ (“I am; because we are”) when I travelled there.
My hallmarks are creativity, hospitality and service, and I take seriously my vow at ordination to preach the gospel afresh to every generation. I’m married to Peter who has until now been a headteacher of a junior school. We have a grown-up daughter and my mother Jemima, herself a priest, joins us on our big Danish adventure.
While the sun shines
So why, when I have come to a new post with new responsibilities and challenges do I feel like I’m on holiday? Perhaps it’s because it’s a change from what I was doing. This is something different, fresh and energising – all in Mediterranean sunshine and sea breezes!
I love that in my new job at St Alban’s Church, we welcome visitors who may have heard those very words “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” – for these are holiday-makers arriving in their hundreds.
Holidaying like Jesus
I hope you too have found a place to rest and relax this summer – whether it’s somewhere to recharge your batteries, spend time with family and friends, escape to the summerhouse or seaside, or to do something unusual or simply do nothing at all.
From the very beginning of the world there has been an urgency in God’s demand for renewal. Following the Creation, after six days of hard work, there was the Sabbath rest. After weeks and months of strategic work, Jesus took the disciples away on a boat for some real rest and relaxation.
This all-important time away, which we call a holiday, is a time of reorientation – a way of drawing inspiration, energy and strength for the work ahead.
From rest to restoration
At St Alban’s Church it means a commitment to ‘building a welcome for all’. Building work is underway for new kitchen and toilet facilities before Christmas. Through kindness, concerts, hard work and prayer, temporary difficulty will surely give way to something that will not only be a new look physical building but a place where hospitality and welcome attention can be offered in God’s name. So it’s from rest to restoration we go!
As part of those efforts you can imagine how, more than any year before, the church is busy fundraising. One activity is the annual ‘fun-raising’ St Alban’s Summer Fete on Saturday 25 August from 10:00-17:00. I myself can’t wait for it!
With marmalade, English books and Jane Austen dancers it is quintessentially English, but with a bouncy castle, bottle stall, tombola and cakes there’s something to delight everyone.
Come along, make friends and make merry, and leave the rest to God!