Saint Benedict in our North transept.
Close up of the same.
Today is the feast day of Saint Benedict, Father of Monasticism and co patron of Europe. You would be forgiven for thinking that we had a great devotion to St Benedict here at Saint Hilda's, from our relics of both him and his sister, Scholastica and our great statue of him. You may also have seen our red cope with him on the back and if you were very nosy, or a burglar, you might rifle through my bookshelves finding the occasional book with a stamp in the front cover saying 'St Benedicts'. However what you would not see as being stamped with this stamp, because the ink would have worn off are our parishoners who are also part of the St Benedicts bumper boxed set which we have inherited. You see, St Benedicts was an Anglo-Catholic shrine Church, of monumental proportions, in Ardwick, East Manchester and it closed down some few years ago, leaving some of it's ornaments and parishoners to us. We guard them well, I hope, and value the statues as well as we do the souls and we hope that for all involved, this is the last move that it is necessary to make.
This is the nub, of course. The last move that it is necessary to make. We have all found our home in the Churches we are in and in the communion that we are in and we have, I trust to the mercy of God, found our salvation in our faithfulness and in our palpable love of God. Whatever we do, we should do together, for we have formed a body which has taken some battering over the last few days but which has survived intact. I went to a meeting last night in Preston, discussing our future with Bishop John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley and it is looking a lot brighter than it did on Monday night. Things are happening and there is much hope for us, but there is still the possibility of an enforced move, forced on us by the Church we so love and have offered our lives to. We are a faithful people, not indulging in the modern rhetoric of pulling heartstrings and veiled threats, but speaking of faith, hope and love and living the life of Christ as far as our human spirits are able. Quietly and with prayer, I believe that we can accomplish much. We should not be afraid, for we have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb, the blood that one day will wash clean this whole Anglican Communion of ours, as Christ Himself has promised.
In the meantime and I am sorry for this, for many of us are tired, it is time to keep fighting, to make sure that we can be better represented in the synod next time around and to pray for the coming of the Kingdom as Jesus taught us, in prayer and action. It is not supposed to be easy and Christ is more often encountered in the dark than in the light.