Clergy Letter - 

by The Rev'd Graham Smith

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Using Our Authority 

Bramley Infants School has been celebrating a superb inspection report and have proudly displayed the success of the whole school community. It is Great to be able to celebrate this good news in the heart of our community. 

Many years ago I had a less good experience with a primary school in ‘special measures’.   This school (NOT A SCHOOL NEAR HERE), full of happy children and happy staff had been deemed to be ‘failing’.  What was the problem with that school? Well, it wasn't the teachers. It wasn't the children. It was actually the previous head teacher, a person of great energy and kindness. This head hadn’t wanted to burden her overworked staff with government directives, so she had simply ignored them. The motive was good, but the result was not. What you need from a head teacher, or any boss, is authority. That authority can be exercised with kindness, but there needs to be someone in charge, making the hard decisions to keep thing up to scratch.  Such authority brings enormous responsibility and pressure. The head teacher is responsible not only to teachers, pupils and parents, but also to the Local Authority, governors and government. By avoiding difficult Decisions the head teacher in this case was not exercising proper authority. 

In his great commission Jesus, who had been given all authority by his Father, gave it to his disciples. They needed it for the task that lay ahead of them, which was to go and make disciples - showing from where their authority originated by baptising in the name of God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. No-one likes people who abuse authority or who try to get too much power, but we humans do need authority, however much we may sometimes resent it. The teachers at the school in ‘special measures’ probably wished that their head, who been given authority by the Local Authority and Government, had chosen to exercise it properly. 

As followers of Jesus today we choose to use the inherited commission and authority he gave to his first followers, to go and make disciples, and in doing so we are acting not on our own account, but on behalf of God, as we follow Jesus’ example as we seek to show his love to others and to draw them into his family. 

This command, often known as The Great Commission, is really The Great Invitation - to share in the life of God the Trinity and the mission of God in the world. Not that it's an easy life to which we are invited. This authority which we are offered is not about laying down the law; it is about laying down our lives. 

                                                                                                           Your friend,                                                                                                                           Graham 

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Pray that God will help us to continue his mission to our neighbours 

and prepare for our new priests.

Loving God,

Make these Churches of Holy Trinity and St Andrew 

to be a sign of your engaging love:

May our hearts be penitent,

Our actions sensitive.

Fill each of us with a longing to share with others 

the good news we have received,

And anoint our lives with your Spirit that Jesus be formed in each of us:

His tongue to speak in us,

His hands to work in us,

His heart to beat in us.

And so through all we do, and all we are,

And with the people where you call us to witness,

May Jesus be known

                                                        And His Kingdom established.                                                         Amen.

                                             

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A  VACANCY PRAYER 

Father God

During this vacancy,

guard and grow the people of this benefice as we serve you together

in this period without an incumbent.


Lord Jesus, teacher and friend

We know that you have plans for us

and that these plans are good.

We ask now that you will help us to share responsibility,

grow in faith, love one another, care for those in need,

reach out to others, and welcome newcomers.


Holy Spirit, gentle guide,

Please inspire those who are seeking the right person for us,

and those who are seeking the right place for their ministry,

That together we may discover your way for the future

and see your kingdom grow.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen