Letter from Simon

Dear all

Thank you so much for the really warm welcome Fiona and I have received as we have moved into the Vicarage. We are very much enjoying living in Harrogate and our two dogs, Tally (female Cocker Spaniel) and Skipper (male Labrador) just love the wonderful walks around here.

As I write it’s only three days until I officially become your new rector. It’s been a bit of a long wait given that I was interviewed on 19th June, so I am very much looking forward to starting ministry amongst you and in particular getting to know you better as we begin our ‘partnership in the gospel.’ There is a real excitement in me about what is already happening in the church here and also about the great potential that I see for growth as God reveals His plans for us.

Now if there is one key principle that will be guiding me over the coming months and years it is to try to be faithful to the part of the Lord’s prayer where Jesus instructs us to pray, ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’ It seems to me that our calling is to work for the coming of the Kingdom of God in our own lives, in our church, in our community and in our world. This of course can mean many things but I think in particular it means

• Seeking to grow in Christ-likeness in our thought-patterns, in our relationships, in our lifestyle choices, in our values and so on

• Seeking to be a fellowship where we find freedom, acceptance and respect, healthy challenge, empowerment, healing and love

• Seeking to be light for the world, speaking up against injustice in all its many facets and working on behalf of those in need

• Seeking, in partnership with the Holy Spirit, to help folk come into the Kingdom

Naturally to see how this pans out at St John’s and St Luke’s will take time, but what better outcome could there be than in a few years time to be able look back together and give thanks for how we have seen God’s kingdom come in us and through us.

So we look forward to getting to know you – though a quick word of warning to alert you to one of my weaknesses – I’m not great at remembering faces and names, so please be patient!

Blessings Simon