You may have noticed that on the inside front cover of the magazine, or on the service sheets it mentions “Clergy: Revd Peter Wainwright (acting)”. That must be me! Does it mean that I am permanently onstage acting? Hopefully not: it means that I am a sort of interim locum. Who is this bloke, I suspect a few of you are asking.
Well, my wife (Patricia) and I moved to High Wycombe about 2 years ago, in order to be near to our daughter and husband and the three grandchildren. Since then I have been helping out in churches in the area which do not have a Vicar at the moment. As I reflect on the churches that I have served in since my Ordination in 1975 I see how each has been part of a preparation for my current temporary role. My first was a two church Parish with a Rector and two curates (of which I was the junior). The Parish was all of a medium-sized village with a confident and lively sense of community. The two churches were of different traditions –and you had to remember which one you were at so that you wore the appropriate robes! My next appointment was a single church parish with a specific tradition in a large town of mixed ethnic groups. The congregation were a mix of those who lived locally and those who travelled to this church as it was of their tradition. My last appointment, before moving to this area, was a Benefice of three small village churches. Again, as I travelled from one to another of a Sunday morning, I had to think where I was going as one was very keen on the 2000 Common Worship liturgy whilst another only used the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the Authorised Version of the Bible. Whichever one I was at they each got the same sermon for the day – which was a reflection on all I had learnt from going to Sunday School since I was a small child, and my reading of the scriptures over the years.
Yes, God does prepare us all for what life has yet to hold in store. What will the year 2017 hold for us? Perhaps it is as well that we don’t know – else we might worry ourselves sick! We all have a fair idea of what we are planning to do in 2017 – where to go on holiday, for example. But all our plans are ‘provisional’; or as folk used to say, ‘DV, if the Lord wills’. This coming year seems more uncertain than usual as regards the political scene, what with ‘Brexit’, elections in several European countries, a new President in the USA and the possible continuation of terrible civil wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. Yet, God is above politics, and the word to us from Jesus Christ is ‘fear not, for I am with you’.
Praying that you all will find God’s blessing in 2017, and beyond.