Tonight it was amazing to see my good friend Jeremy licensed as Priest in Charge of St Paul’s Stratford. Amazing as I love Jeremy and Ruth to bits and it was wonderful simplky seeing them welcomed and already starting to look like they were settling in to this new area. For those of you that don’t know, this parish is about to enlarge dramatically as people start to move into the Olympic village.
Jeremy is a missioner and Bishop Stephen Cottrell drew attention to this in his sermon. He started, though, by reminding everyone that Jeremy was not there to do all the ministry. He reminded them that Jeremy was there, not to do it all, but to ensure that all the ministry was done. I know plenty of ordained people that need to remember that sound advice!
I particularly loved the way +Stephen then took his sermon. He used the analogy of great football players (Jeremy and Ruth are Spurs season ticket holders), saying that what marks a good football player from an excellent one is there first touch. That ability, in one smooth movement, to control, use and pass the ball. Merely good football players usually need a touch to control before they are then able to pass it. They receive and give the ball in a perfect balance.
He used this to say that he prayed that St Pauls would become known as a church that has a great first touch …. that it can both receive very well and give appropriately. I think that’s an amazing image for people to aspire to.
Tonight was a special night with a special person whom I have grown to admire massively over the last 8 years or so. I will be praying and watching and waiting to see that first touch develop. God bless you Jeremy, Ruth and the community of St Pauls.