Rector’s Letter – March 2017

Dear folks,

Although the 1st of the month introduces a solemn season of prayer and reflection, March is set to be quite an eventful month.

Since establishing our link with St James Church Kolkata last year and receiving guests in the summer, we have been talking about taking a group over there. At first the uptake was slow for all kinds of legitimate reasons, and a few weeks ago I wondered whether it would ever even happen. But having been inspired by Les and Margaret Slater who offered to represent us by visiting St James during a month long trip that they had been planning, I decided to take a step of faith and book my flight and rendezvous with them. So then there were three of us going! However… I’m delighted to be able to share with you that now a total of seven from St Mary’s (including me) ranging from young teens to retired adults will be there this month.

Noel Boyd, Pippa and Hazel Faunce Smith, our Emilie, and myself fly out on Sunday 12th to return on Tuesday 21st. Several of the group have been assisted with the costs by generous benefactors among the congregation, to whom we are deeply grateful. For the three youngest members of the group as well as for the adults it will be a wonderful experience. The excitement and apprehension are building with every passing day! Please keep the group in your prayers.

Our friends in Kolkata are also looking forward to our arrival and are excitedly preparing accommodation and a full itinerary. As well as meeting members of St James’ church and Young Church, we are looking forward to being actively involved on many levels, and have been asked to prepare and lead an all age midweek service, as well as go with them on their wonderful medical mission to Ramnagar Abad, a remote rural village three hours south of Kolkata that St James have adopted.

Bishop David is thrilled about this link and trip as he is keen to see the link between the two diocese develop into something that is mutually beneficial and encouraging. Our growing relationship with St James church is a significant and positive part of that.

Meanwhile, if you would like to correspond with members of St James church, or would like to send words of encouragement, please email or write to me. Some members of St Mary’s and Mums from Tea and Toast have given us small gifts to take over with us, which we are happy to do. Pencils, pads, rubbers, etc especially colourful ones, are all good things to be able to give out.

I am hoping that the next issue of our magazine will feature an opening letter from Rev Shreeraj as I am going to invite him to address you for Easter. We will of course hold a presentation and share all about our experiences with you after we return.

A few days after we return, it will be the last Sunday in March upon which we have a double celebration as we give thanks for those who nurture us with Motherly love, and baptise a baby.

In the Catholic tradition the Church has been referred to as Mater Ecclesiae (Latin for Mother church), because she nourishes and protects her off-spring. I like that as long as it can accommodate the understanding of helping prepare the beloved children to go out into the world as balanced, compassionate, and confident adults who will increase the family.

And that is what makes the other celebration that we will share in during the main service more special as also this Mothering Sunday I will baptise the youngest member of St Mary’s, wee Salesha Simpson. We look forward very much to being part of that special occasion with Salesha and her Mum and Dad and brothers and other members of her family, as we pledge to help them nurture and protect Salesha and prepare her to live her life in the knowledge of God’s love and as a disciple of Jesus.

It sounds like there is much to think about for the season of Lent, but certainly there will be much opportunity for prayer and reflection, and I am glad that the Dunblane Council of Churches has arranged a Lent Course which I would encourage you to attend if you can (see details in this issue).

With love and blessings,