‘Change and decay in all around I see’ moaned the writer of the hymn, Abide with me. The media tells us that the church is dying. Society has changed. Churches are closing down. Some are literally decaying.
Yesterday, at Guildford cathedral, clergy from nearly every parish in the diocese heard Bishop Andrew launch his vision to transform us, the church, so that we will transform lives. By the end of September all 25,000 regular Sunday worshippers in his diocese will know a bit more about what is involved.
At its simplest, vision is what we see, what we choose to look at. We could look at elderly, diminishing congregations or we can look at churches engaging effectively with imagination and compassion to be salt and light in the community. Transforming church, transforming lives must be our vision.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of the church’s death is greatly exaggerated. Long live St Andrews!
Phillip Herbert & Norman Steven