I have now been Priest-in-Charge of the church of St Andrew & St Mary, Grantchester, along with St Mark’s in Newnham for a year. Anniversaries are good times to reflect and it is great to mark a year in post with lots of good and positive reflections. My family and I have so enjoyed our first year in Cambridge. What a place – so many interesting places and people, things to experience and discover!
We have been made to feel very welcome and we have met so many different people. I have shared many joyful occasions with people as well as some rather sadder – there have been church anniversaries, funerals, fetes, weddings, lunches, parties and baptisms. There have been occasions involving silence, solitude and reflection and there have been lively, joy filled noisier services. There have been community events and individual meetings. I have been welcomed into schools, as well as to many, many people’s homes. Despite some challenges, this has been a good year.
But a one year anniversary, as well as causing me to look back over twelve months, also causes me to look ahead and wonder what next?
I hope I came here to these two churches with an open mind, keen to listen and hear what has gone before, to understand and to get to know who is who and what is what. I hope I will always keep that open mind, eyes and ears, but at the same time, I think as we move into the autumn we ought to be asking ourselves what next. Where is God leading us as a church as part of a wider community? I don’t know the answer yet, but I am keen to start asking the question.
I am sure that part of it, as it is for most organisations, is to build on that which is already good. We are a positive and welcoming church. Let’s do more of that. We see people in church who have been in Grantchester for many, many years and those who are new or even passing through. Let’s always keep both in mind. But at the same time, let us commit to bravely take steps into the unknown at times and try new things.
Throughout the Bible, especially the Old Testament, and in many of our beloved hymns, we read and are reminded of the unchanging nature of God. His love and faithfulness are constant and steadfast. His nature and his commitment to humanity are unwavering. And yet, the prophet Isaiah wrote the following words:
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
This was written many centuries ago to a people far from here and different to us, but let’s ask ourselves the same question. What is the new thing God will do? What are the ways that need to be found in wilderness places, what do those streams in wasteland look like in 21st century Grantchester? What do we notice springing up around us and how do we respond?
As we move into the Autumn, let us continue to celebrate the unchanging, constant, steadfast love of God, let’s build on all which is already good in the life of our church and community, but let’s also keep our eyes and ears and minds and hearts open to the new thing that God might be doing with us.
Thank you for a good first year, here’s to the next one!
Rev Rachel Rosborough