January 2019

'View from the Rectory' is the monthly column from our Rector, published in our Parish magazine.

January- View from the Rectory

This time next year…..

In 2012 I had a stroke and this made me realise both how precious life is, and also that I needed to approach some things  a little differently. Like thousands of other people, I did more exercise, changed a few things in my diet and took the tablets I was prescribed. I also began something new with our two daughters that has become a valued and established new  family tradition.

I started a book for each of them that not only told my life story, but set out in print just how much I loved and valued them. I recounted shared experiences, holidays, funny sayings and comments about the music, films, TV, books, concerts and plays we had enjoyed together over the years. It was something much more than a diary, log book or a scrap book. Each year it has been updated posing new questions; reflecting on what the current year has meant, and setting out hopes, aspirations, dreams or challenges for the year ahead. I have continued to learn more about my daughters from these books, particularly now we are in the days of social media and instant messaging and all too superficial, snatched conversations. It’s as if the books provide that rare space to be truthful, thoughtful, reflective, challenging and sentimental.

In The Liturgical Year  Joan Chittister writes; ‘Life is made up of the turning of the years. We watch our lives go by, a phase, a stage, a year at a time, and we mark the meaning of the year by the way we feel as we spend it. We talk about “the kind of year it’s been.” As if one year could possibly repeat another, as if all the parts of the year were cut from the same fabric, all its days derived from the same root or developed in the same ways. Instead, every year is a distinct growth point in life, bringing something unique to us and calls for something different from us- the shedding of another shell of life.’

You may feel that you have more years behind you than ahead of you or that things can’t ever be as good as they once were. I’d like to support Joan’s philosophy in asking you to consider if 2019 can offer the adventure in bringing the religious or spiritual in your life to fulness, the heart to alert and the soul to focus. Perhaps above all we should be less concerned with how to make a living than with the question of how to make a life and to celebrate that when we can.

St Mary’s aims to do more during 2019 and the years ahead to accompany and resource you on this journey through a wider range of services, pastoral support and various courses, programmes and conversations. All you have to do is respond to our invitation and in doing so write your very own next chapter of your individual book of life because this time next year….


Every prayer and blessing for 2019.

Rev’d David Coleman, Rector

Email- rectorwestchilts@gmail.com

Twitter- @rectorwestchilt and @stmwestchilts

Facebook- St Mary’s West Chiltington (official)