Dear members of the All Saints family
The letter this week is in two sections. The first has been written by Rev Sam Durdant-Hollamby and the second by Emma Smith. Both of them have key roles in our church and we are blessed to have two such capable and gifted people working with us.
I’m getting ordained (again)
For anyone who doesn’t know me, I’m Sam and I’m Curate in the Parish of All Saints. My role is to lead The Groves Church, a church planted from All Saints two years ago. For those who do know me, you’ll know I was ordained (finally) last October. I was ordained to the office of Deacon.
In two weeks time, (unless one day I become a Bishop, which I have zero interest in) the road of ordination ends for me on Saturday June 19th as I am ordained Priest at Chester Cathedral. This will allow me to officiate in all the various offices and sacraments of the Church of England.
I am excited to take this next step in the calling God has placed on my life. Continuing to serve him, and you, with love in my heart and faith in the gospel to transform lives.
Please could I ask for your prayer for my family and I, as I lay myself down again in this particular role. I will continue to pray for you in all God has called you to in your life. Could I also ask that you continue to pray for The Groves Church and those who are connected with us, as we pray to witness lives changed by Jesus.
It is an incredible and humbling honour to be called by God in this way. I am thankful to each one of you for your support, encouragement and prayer over the fourteen years I have worshipped at, or been connected to, All Saints.
I’m afraid that due to COVID I will forego the party (again) this year, but please feel free to watch the service and support me in that way. The link will be posted on the Chester Diocese and Cathedral Facebook pages nearer the time.
I will be doing my first communion at Hoole Primary School on Sunday 20th June at our TGC service, which starts at 10am.
Sam is Ordained Priest at Chester Cathedral on Saturday June 19th at 5:00pm
Reflection from Emma Smith
I received a beautiful present this week from a dear friend as a ‘cheers’ to the end of our time together at University. It was a pair of clay hand-made mugs, perfect for a fresh coffee on a rainy afternoon (which we have had plenty of recently!)
It not only was a surprising and lovely thing to receive, it has brought to mind two ideas about having a good Christian community around me and ultimately around us.
Firstly, my friend, who I’ve known for the past few years, showed me that she knows me very well! In her words “I saw them and thought of you.” They combined our shared love for good coffee, our many hours spent debating the world and faith over recent years and my love for items that hold a story or are a little unusual.
It feels good to be known and known well! It is a joy to know that we are!
We are reminded so many times throughout The Bible of the way we are seen and known.
“But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”
Created, Formed, made by the Creator God.
I love how Jesus ‘sees’ people in the gospels. I always think of Zacchaeus in the tree, trying to see but not be seen. Jesus sees him and invites him to be known.
My second thought about the mugs is that my friend chose to buy me a pair. She did not choose one mug (which would of course been nice) but she bought me two. A true reminder of the importance of community, discipleship and hospitality. We have spent much of the last year during this pandemic walking together when we can, checking in on each other and continuing to encourage each other in our relationships with Jesus.
It has formed an important part of the week and often been one of the highlights.
We are not called to journey on our own. Not only are we secured, anchored and comforted by our compassionate God, we are provided with a family to walk with. I believe that God places those beside us to love us, encourage us and uphold us especially when things are difficult.
So, in very simple terms:
You are loved.
You are known.
You do not have to do this on your own.
These are simple truths that many of us have heard and know but maybe, like me this week, you needed a fresh reminder of God’s goodness.
Here is my challenge ( yes, we should act on this truth too!):
Who will you choose to let know that they are ‘seen’ this week? Who will you extend hospitality to? Who will you remind that they are not doing this alone?
Why not join me in this prayer:
Lord of all,
Thank you for my Church family. Thank you for those who uphold me in prayer and choose to stand by my side. Help me to see as you see. Help me to notice where you are calling me to extend my hand to those who are in need. Lead me in your way of love and compassion for those around me. Amen.
Thank you Emma and Sam
John Chester and Andy Creeth, Churchwardens