Pastoral Letter from Joel

Thank you to all those who have welcomed us so warmly. We have loved meeting you and are grateful to those who have taken the time to write or email or pop by. Let me express my particular thanks to Elaine and Peter, Malcolm, Fr. Ray and to the other clergy who have worked diligently and humbly during what has been an unusually long vacancy period.

We moved into the vicarage just before Christmas and we’ve just about emptied all the packing boxes. The painting downstairs is almost complete, the kids are in school and pre-school and we are thoroughly enjoying life in Bognor. The more time we spend walking around the place, the more our hearts are filled with excitement and hope. 

Living in the vicarage allows us to be local and affords us the opportunity to spend precious time meeting people; listening and learning about the needs of the local community. If you see us around the place please do say hello. We’d love to meet you!

It has been and is an unusual time for the church. The vacancy period was both longer than usual and included the introduction of an exciting Apostolic Partnership being formed with St Peter’s Church, Brighton. Whilst I am now your Vicar, in practice most of my time between now and September will be given to working with the leadership team at St Peter’s and the St Wilfrid’s Church Wardens to ensure the partnership details are worked through sensitively and diligently. Lella and I recognise that this may be difficult for some and we are grateful for your patience. We also recognise that communication will be key as the months progress and we are currently working out how best to do this.

There’s an amazing prayer that St Paul prays for the church in Ephesus where he asks that they might know the full dimensions of God’s love for them. The love of God, he says, stretches to the boundaries: It is high, and long, wide and deep.  St John says that perfect love casts out fear. Maybe you’re feeling anxious or fearful about something in your life, maybe you’re feeling lost and confused about your purpose, maybe you feel gripped by doubt and you’re unsure about what is true. Maybe you feel like you’re not living life to the full.

The bible teaches us that this perfect love is revealed in Jesus Christ and is at work by the power of God’s Spirit, in each of those who believe. Knowing this love is the key to finding freedom, purpose, truth and life in all its fullness.

Lella and my prayer for each of you, whatever you are going through, is that you would know this wonderful love of God the Father, which has been revealed most beautifully in the Son, Jesus Christ, and is powerfully at work in us by the Holy Spirit.
With love, Joel and Lella