|John McManus, Special Needs Adviser and member of |
Social Action Commission lights a candle during the service
The bishop’s homily was partly based on his introduction in the service booklet:
‘My dear Friends in Christ, It is good to reflect from time to time on the fundamental mission and activity of the Church, to which we belong. It exists to preach the gospel. Anything that doesn’t help the Church in this mission is a distraction and even an obstacle.
The Church carries out this mission in a number of ways. One of the most obvious ways is through the life and activity of the parish community. The enlargement and development of the Diocesan Pastoral Team during the past eight years, in response to the diocesan-wide consultation ‘Preparing Together’, has meant that parishes and communities are increasingly served by the advisers in many areas of pastoral life.
The role of the Diocesan Commissions, supporting and sharing in key aspects of the service offered to the Diocese by each Pastoral Team adviser, is a vital part of our Diocesan pastoral structure. The generous involvement of each commission member, sharing their time and talents, helps to develop and enrich the evangelising work of the Diocese.
I am very grateful to all those who have undertaken this task. It is difficult to assess the success of anything related to the living of the Gospel or the tasks we undertake in the building of the Kingdom, as the parable of the sower and the seed suggests, but the numbers of people participating in events organised by the advisers and their Commissions is a clear indication of their value to individuals and communities.
I wish you God’s blessing in your work, because it is the work of preaching the Gospel, a task entrusted to each of us. It is entrusted to you now in a special way, and I am sure the Lord will guide and support you in it. I pray that he will bless you in all the ways in which you serve.’
After the homily, the Bishop then asked the commission members if they were prepared to commit to furthering the pastoral work of their own particular commission: their response was a resounding and very moving ‘we are!’ The lighting of a candle by a representative of each commission followed and pictured is John McManus, Learning Disabilities Adviser, who is on the Social Action Commission.
The evening concluded with a shared supper.
Story and pictures: David White