It's very good news that our new vicar, Reverend Ginni Dear, will be with us this summer. That this is sooner than we dared to hope is thanks largely to the hard work and efficiency of our churchwardens who saw to it that the advertisement for a priest went into the Church Times promptly and got on quickly with preparing the Parish Profile, a document available to all applicants, setting out the needs and nature of the benefice. In addition, churchwardens and PCC members have to shoulder extra duties during a vacancy, not the least being to find priests and lay ministers to take the services week by week, and to ensure that the pattern of church activities continues as usual.
We are fortunate also in being given ready help from beyond our parishes. Constantly looking out for us are our Rural Dean, Reverend Jane, Archdeacon Jonathan and Bishop Michael and in addition we continue to benefit from the help given us by other clergy and by Readers who willingly take services for us. We are grateful for all this kindness from people who already are or because of the vacancy, have become our friends. Putting it another way, we acknowledge that we get by with a lot (not just a little) help from our friends.
Kindness, better known as love, is one of the seven virtues. Scholars tell us that by origin and moral standing the philosophical ones are Justice, Prudence, Temperance, and Fortitude. The theological ones are Faith, Hope and Love. Together these form the cardinal or chief virtues.
Kindness is an aspect of Love. Charity and courtesy, kindness and compassion, also reside in Love.
Hilaire Belloc put it this way;
Of Courtesy - it is much less than courage of heart or holiness;
Yet in my walks it seems to me that the Grace of God is in Courtesy.
Whichever word - kindness, charity, courtesy, compassion - is used to describe it, the Grace of heavenly Love is perfectly recognisable.
Surely it is the gift from God which brings us closer to Him, and to one another.