Pass it On

Thought for the Month.

Tidings, October 2019

A bunch of people sat round the table and pondered the theme “Pass It On”, which will form the basis of Chedgrave church’s Xpressions Café in October. What do we pass on to others, and what do they pass on to us?

It’s an interesting thought. My granddaughter is seven months old, and in that little person are some of the same genes that I hold. I’ve passed them on, down the family. As time goes by, I’d like to think I can pass other things on, too – my interests and beliefs and my support as she grows up.

Passing things on to a new generation is important, partly because we want to share our enthusiasms and interests, and partly because we hope that younger people will have some of the same values and concerns that we do. But we must remember that life changes with each new generation. We probably live very differently from our parents or grandparents.

As Rector of the Chet Valley Benefice I am responsible for a number of ancient buildings that have been a focus for faith for hundreds of years. They are solid, but not static, as they have all changed radically over time, both in how they are arranged and how they are used. We would be very mistaken if we thought that what we have now is the way they have always been!

When churches consider new activities or new ways of setting up the building, they are following a long tradition of adapting to suit current and future needs. They know that if they don’t adapt, eventually they die. I have no wish to see any of the local churches die, but I’m conscious that this will happen within my granddaughter’s formative years if we fail to pass on our faith in a manner that appeals to a new generation – people who are used to choice, comfort and access to transport.

It’s a challenge! We want to keep the lovely buildings that have been a beacon of faith for so long, and yet we must also allow our expressions of faith to be vibrant, attractive and looking to the future rather than the past.

David Owen

Rector of Chet Valley & Rural Dean of Loddon