Letter from the Superintendent

Dear Friends

Forty years ago, on 24th March, Bishop Oscar Romero was assassinated whilst celebrating Mass in the chapel of the Hospital of Divine Providence in San Salvador. His ministry was distinguished by his attention to the most poor and marginalized adhering to Catholic teachings on liberation and a preferential option for the poor. He desired a social revolution based on interior reform.

 

It is fitting that this date is set as an "International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims". This recognises the way he actively denounced violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable people and defended the principles of protecting lives, promoting human dignity and opposing all forms of violence.

 

This plan covers not only this date but also the seasons of Lent and Easter and takes us through to Pentecost. Time for us to consider who we are, whose we are and how we can respond in all our living as individuals and communities, in our local church and circuit.

 

Often, I look around and wonder what difference is being made by our faithful living. Two years ago I found this reflection accredited to Oscar Romero but according to other sources never spoken by him. I used it at the circuit meeting in June 2018 after we had reflected on the situations we were facing and in conversation and in body had said we would stand by each other to support the missions we all had in the communities. How do we see that commitment two years on?

 

I invite you to read this piece and perhaps use it as a reflection to accompany through this plan. What might God be saying to us now?

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime
only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise
that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No programme
accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives
includes everything.

That is what we are about.
We plant a seed that will one day grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations
that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation
in realising that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning,
a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace
to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

Revd. Peter Catford 
© The Methodist Church Stockton Circuit 2016 -- 2020
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