Revd Jackie

Rev. Jackie Bullen
Vicar

Letter from the Vicar

For the journey...

There is something very special about being there when someone finishes their journey. Often at school sports days there will be many parents and carers crowded around the finishing line.

At the London marathon on 23rd April, I'm sure that, as always, there will have been thousands of supporters camping out ahead of the event. Getting there early to make sure they have a place next to the line so they can watch loved ones run, jog, walk or even be carried over that line and cheer for them as they succeed in their quest to finish the 26 miles 385 yards they started out on. It is important that we support those we love and care for and what a wonderful thing to be able to do, to shout and cheer as they achieve their goal.

It may sound obvious but of course, every person who ever finishes a journey must have started it. Lao Tzu, a major figure in Chinese philosophy (whose historical existence is debated) is accredited with this quote, "A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step". In other words, no one can finish a journey unless they start one.

In the Christian church, people have been setting off on journeys for thousands of years. The Bible is packed full of stories of people leaving places and walking, riding on donkeys, travelling into deserts and the wilderness. Sometimes alone, often in pairs or groups but nevertheless going on a journey.

One of the ways in which all Christians start an amazing journey is at their Baptism, also known as a Christening. No-one is ever baptised alone; most people are surrounded by members of their family, friends, godparents, the church and always in the presence of God. Even Jesus was Baptised by John the Baptist.

Christening is the start of a lifetime of discovering more about love, faith and hope and it is a wonderful moment to celebrate. Sadly, there are so many myths around Baptisms that some people never take that first step. Some people think there is an age limit on it or that they have to be regular church attenders, neither of which is true.

Our challenge as a Church community is to help people to find out the truth about this wonderful journey and, should they wish to make that first step, to make ourselves available to them as travelling companions along the way. Some people may come to church regularly, others may choose to keep in touch in other ways.

Everyone is welcome and if people are interested in walking this path, we are here to help one another to start it and every step of the way.

Some of us have been on this path for some time but nevertheless, we still need the support of others and the opportunity to learn together.

We have just celebrated Easter in the Christian calendar, a time when we too can cheer and wave as we remember our Lord and Saviour risen from the dead. Easter is traditionally a time when many are baptised and we are also reminded of our own baptism and renew our promises.

As part of our commitment to the future of the church, at St Botolph's we will continue to strive to be a loving, warm and welcoming community of faithful believers who rejoice when we see another person joining us and we feel able to join in wholeheartedly and boldly with the words of the Christening service.

We welcome you into the fellowship of faith; we are children of the same heavenly Father; we welcome you!

Imagine the scene if our shouts and applause in a Christening service were as loud and encouraging as for those who cross that finishing line at the London marathon!!

God Bless

Jackie

The Rev'd Jackie Bullen