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Salani kahle, Stay Well

In this Sunday’s bible readings we hear the good news message that ‘Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’ (Mark 3:35) So, siblings of Ashford Town Parish, thank you. Thank for the times we have gathered – in each of the churches for Sunday worship, in on-line services, Ignite, seasonal preparation courses, Community Café, Morning Prayer, fayres, quiz nights – and in all the places we have met as siblings in Jesus Christ.

Thank you especially to St Mary’s Town Centre for welcoming us to Ashford and for the beautiful service at the end of April where Graham and I were able to be with you all and Paul. Special thanks to St Mary’s Kennington for the joyful, poignant and encouraging sending out this past Sunday. Thank you for the rousing praise, delicious lunch and beautiful gifts. You will be forever on my heart, as I journey onwards.

A ‘coddiwomple’ is an old English word meaning to journey purposefully to an unknown destination. We know our end destination. But we don’t really know exactly what it will be like. And along the journey we experience unexpected waypoints.

Graham and I didn’t expect to be living in Ashford and I didn’t expect to start studying at St Augustine’s College, first as an independent student and then training for ordination. The prompting to go to St Augustine’s came from here, our Parish community. And it has been the Parish community that has encouraged and prayed for me through discernment and ordination training.

You have witnessed Christ’s intention for me. You have journeyed with me as siblings on the bumpy, joyful Way. It has not only been my journey. It has also been Graham’s. Since arriving in Ashford six years ago, our lives, individually and as a partnership, have been transformed. You have seen this and supported and encouraged us. Thank you!

God is now sending me out to a new place and new people. As we prepare to move to High Halden and serve the Parish of Denswood, we give thanks for your friendship as part of this Christian family. We don’t say ‘goodbye’, as siblings in Christ, we are all, always connected. So, we say salani kahle, stay well. I will keep praying for you. Please keep praying for me. And keep encouraging and praying for each other.

Maria Stuttaford

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