Vicar's View - October 2022

The Joys of Autumn



Lookin out my office window this morning I noticed the changing colours of the trees, the reds, yellows, and browns of autumn. As I thought I needed to dig out a thick autumn jumper, I realised how impotant the turning of the seasons are. I am reminded of this as I sense a nip in the air as Gunner and I go off for our morning walk, and I am noticing again how important are the fixed points and the repeating patterns with which we navigate our way through life. In many ways I regret the waning of summer; I know I’m going to miss sunshine, warmth, and long daylight. Yet I accept and embrace the change as not only inevitable, but also as something that brings shape to life.


It is important to recognise that our life together in any community or organisation is shaped not simply relationally but also by fixed points, accepted patterns, even policies and procedures. Some of these we adhere to with little more deliberate choice involved than is entailed by our acceptance of the turning of summer into autumn.


Let me offer you an example: If I said that I have never found any requirement placed upon me by the fixed points, policies and procedures involved in good safeguarding you would know that I was saying less than the truth. Mostly, it’s something I just go with, but at times the, “What, again?” question can arise for me. Yet, I have bowed to these things and willingly so. I bow, maybe recognising that the action, the check, or whatever, is unlikely to raise any issue in my particular case. But I also know that without the established practice well-ingrained in all that we do, including in relation to me, risks may arise elsewhere for those who are vulnerable.


Without this strong pattern and constraint in life, what we offer and what we are together as a community is less than it could, and should, be. That we operate with clear patterns and expectations in this area says something about who we are as a community of churches, and about what and who we believe to be important.


In the way we think about things in our western democracies we place a very high value on freedom, and we are right to do so. Yet, we make a mistake if we miss the equally important role played by constraint.


One way of thinking about the earthly mission of God in Jesus Christ is by recognising that at this point in salvation history God accepts a measure of constraint. The eternal and utterly free God embraces the limitations of time and space, the parameters of a human body, mind, and consciousness. That God does so is a pivotal disclosure to us of the character of God and a profound affirmation of our significance. From an event which in some ways is very much about constraint, a power of transformation is released that has shaped the world ever since.


I am sure you don’t need me to sketch out here the way that much the same approach is evident in the life and mission of our churches in the Woodfield Team and, I expect, in your own life and ministry.



Revd Rick Tett

Team Vicar





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