Rev. Judith Malins
As a retired priest in the Church of England, the essentials of my faith are summed up in the words of the creeds which we say together as part of our worship. They are a kind of short hand. I think it was Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland who said “Words mean whatever I want them to mean”, so no doubt other priests will use different words and emphasis from me when talking about belief. Some of the things which are important to me are:
I believe that all Christians, in common with many other faiths, and in common with many others who don’t know what they believe, are searching to know about and to know God. More than that, they are trying to live in a way which honours God, and other human beings, and is good.
I think that because of what Christians believe, about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we have a unique way of knowing God as our loving father, and share in his life, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We share in Jesus’ prayer and our purpose is to work for his love and peace and freedom and healing and justice and mercy for all people, in other words for his kingdom to come on earth as in heaven. And I think New Creation is one way the churches in Banwell are trying to do that.
So how do I define myself? I say, I am a Christian who happens to be a member of the Church of England, a Christian because that is my faith, and the Church of England because…….so many reasons! Some are:
….I want to be faithful to the welcome and the love which welcomed me through baptism and confirmation and trusted me to be a priest.
….because I love being part of a community which bases faith on SCRIPTURE, but values TRADITION (what Christians over centuries can teach us) and REASON too (it expects me to use my mind as well as my emotions).
….I love being in a broad church, in which people with different views, liberal, conservative, traditional, charismatic, evangelical, are held together in worship; a church where the past is valued, and new ideas like New Creation are welcomed and explored.
….I love being part of a church which is both world-wide and local, sharing the Anglican tradition with Christians all round the world, but rooted in a place, here, in a village community.
…..I love the use of liturgy (set words and music) which allows everyone to join in, often using words which have been prayed by ordinary people for hundreds of years, and new ones for today too.
….I love the reverence and awe, the quiet of sacred space, the sense of stepping from the busyness of life into sanctuary; a holy place when I open the church door. I have been so fortunate, in each of the parishes I served, until now, that the building was open all day, and everyone, of all faiths and none, was free to come in and find that peace and sanctuary too.
…..I love the way that everything, building, symbols, music, sacraments , people, work together to provide a place of beauty where I can know God’s presence and love in a special way.
……I love the tradition of daily prayer in which I can share, as part of a worshipping community.
And that’s just for starters. Every morning, as the hymn says, brings something new….new perils, past, new sins forgiven, new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven…..
I can be found most Sundays, and at Morning Prayer on Thursday mornings, in St Andrews, Church in Banwell.